Defender of The Nation Award Player Profile Evan Eller


VMI football photo day at Foster Stadium in Lexington, VA August 11, 2023. (Randall K. Wolf / VMI)


Athletic Achievement:
128 career tackles with 99 coming last season
2022 – Junior Season
– Ended season 33rd among FCS players with 9.0 tackles per game,
T-13 with two fumbles recovered
– 99 tackles T-2nd among SoCon players
– Six-plus tackles in all but one game, 7.0 tackles for loss on the season
– Opened season with 9.0 tackles, 1.0 sacks at No. 22 Wake Forest
– Had 9.0 tackles in win over Bucknell, vs. Cornell
– 15.0 tackles at Western Carolina with a QBH
– Career-high 17.0 tackles, 1.5 TFL (6 yards) at No. 10 Samford
– Finished season with 11.0 tackles, 1.5 TFLs against The Citadel
Fall 2021 – Senior Season
– A regular in the defensive backfield as a junior, playing in all 11 games with five starts
– Made 27 tackles on the year, including 13 solo tackles
– One tackle for loss
– Made a season-best eight stops in VMI’s victory against Wofford
2020 (Freshman – Spring 21 season)
– Appeared in seven games for VMI, totaling 2.0 tackles)
– Made debut against Furman, picking up a tackle
High School: Named the Virginia 3A State Defensive Player of the Year at Lord Botetourt HS in Roanoke, Va. … a Second Team All-USA VA DB/LB as a junior …compiled 80 solo tackles, 38 assists, 19 TFL, 5 sacks, and 3 interceptions in 2018…also played quarterback… was responsible for five TDs in just two and a half games on offense and 30 tackles and three INTs on defense before injury shortened his senior season…honor roll student.

Personal: International Studies major. From Roanoke, Va. Attended Lord Botetourt High School.

Quote from Head Coach Danny Rocco: “Evan embodies the true spirit of being a VMI Keydet. He is committed to our core values, as he excels both on the field as well as on post and in the classroom.”

The recipient of the Defender of the Nation Award will be announced on October 26th from one of the Nation’s (14) military academies and institutions including Air Force Academy, Auburn, The Citadel, Coast Guard Academy, Michigan State, Naval Academy, Norwich University, Ole Miss, Texas A&M University, Virginia Tech, VMI, South Carolina, Villanova, and West Point and is based on exceptional leadership qualities on the field, in the classroom and in the community. The recipient must also exhibit a high standard of integrity by leading through example.

In conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America, the 2023 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet will be held on Monday, December 4th at the Charlotte Convention Center.  In addition to honoring the Defender of the Nation Award winner, the banquet will celebrate the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Legends Award. Clemson University’s Jeff Davis from the Class of 1981 will be honored as the 2022 Legends Award recipient and Texas Christian University Head Coach Sonny Dykes is slated as the keynote speaker.

The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C., region. The club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches. Since 1991 the club has raised and donated nearly $3 million to benefit area high school and collegiate athletics. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or jrocco@touchdownclub.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.