TMCNet:  2012 Rotary Lombardi Award Official Watch List

[July 16, 2012]

2012 Rotary Lombardi Award Official Watch List

HOUSTON --(Business Wire)--

The Rotary Club of Houston today announced the 43rd Annual Rotary Lombardi Award Official Watch List. The Rotary Lombardi Award is given to the nation's top college lineman or linebacker each year.

Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to: 1) offensive or defensive end-to-end down linemen who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball and 2) linebackers who set up no farther than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage. All candidates must be eligible to play college sports under the rules and regulations of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

The candidates earned a place on the Official Watch List by: earning All-American honors last season; being named last season to their respective all-conference first team as determined by the conference's head coaches; being projected to be an All-American or first team all-conference player for the coming season; or by nomination approved by the nominations committee.

While the Watch List highlights those players who have already received national recognition, any Division IA player who meets the above requirements is eligible for consideration from the Rotary Lombardi Award Selection Committee. The committee is comprised of more than 500 members, including all past winners and finalists, all Division IA head coaches, and a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.

The Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List is a reference tool for the Selection Committee. It will be periodically revised until the first round of voting is completed. The first round of voting determines the Top 25 Quarter finalists for 2012. The second round of voting will determine the final 7 semi-finalists or "Seven Blocks of Granite". The third round of voting will determine the "four finalists" from the "Seven Blocks of Granite". The fourth and final round of voting will determine the winner of The 43rd Rotary Lombardi Award which will be announced on national television live in "prime-time" 8-9 PM (CST) Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at The Hobby Center in Houston, TX (network to be determined).

Last year's 2011 Rotary Lombardi Award winner, Luke Kuechly (LB-Boston College) was drafted by the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League (NFL). He was selected by the Panthers with the 9th overall pick of the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Other 2011 Rotary Lombardi finalists, Dont'a Hightower (LB - Alabama) was the overall 25th pick in the first round of the NFL draft by the New England Patriots; Courtney Upshaw, (OLB - Alabama) was the overall 35th pick by the Baltimore Ravens; Jonathan Martin (OT-Stanford) was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the Second round and the 42nd pick overall."

For more information on the two-day schedule of events and ticket opportunities, please visit

2012 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List

Player   Position   University   Player Highlights
Oday Aboushi   OT   Virginia   2nd team All-ACC in 2011, 20 career starts at left tackle (25 in total)
Denicos Allen   LB   Michigan State   Finished 12th nationally with 11 sacks, 6th most in MSU single season
Jacolby Ashworth   OT   Houston   2nd team All-CUSA selection in 2011, 30 career starts
Jeremiah Attaochu   LB   Georgia Tech   Honorable mention All-ACC, tied for 6th in the ACC with 6 sacks in 2011
Alvin Bailey   C   Arkansas   Pre-season All-American candidate, 2nd team All-SEC
Dion Bailey   LB   USC   Pac 12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year, 2nd team Fr. All-American
David Bakhtiari   OT   Colorado   Moves to left tackle after 2nd team All-Pac 12 season in 2011
Chris Barker   G   Nevada   2X 1st team All-WAC selection, 40 career starts for the Wolf Pack
Mario Benavides   C   Louisville   Honorable mention All-Big East in 2011, missed final 3 games
Chris Borland   LB   Wisconsin   1st team All-Big 10 in 2011, finished with 143 tackles
Jonathan Bostic   LB   Florida   Led the Gators with 94 tackles on the season, 10 tackles for a loss
Arthur Brown   LB   Kansas State   1st team All-Big 12 and Defensive Newcomer of the Year in 2011
Jonathan Brown   LB   Illinois   2nd team All-Big 10 (media), honorable mention All-Big 10 (coaches)
Travis Brown   LB   Fresno State   1st team All-WAC, led the Bulldogs with 85 tackles
Michael Buchanan   DE   Illinois   2nd team All-Big 10, finished year with 13.5 tackles for a loss
Max Bullough   LB   Michigan State   3rd generation Spartan, 2nd team All-Big 10, led team with 89 tackles
Nick Carlson   C   Wyoming   2nd team All-MWC, 33 career starts
Braxston Cave   C   Notre Dame   The foundation of the Irish line, must overcome injuries from 2011
Michael Clay   LB   Oregon   Leading returning front seven tackler in the Pac-12 (102)
Jadeveon Clowney   DE   South Carolina   SEC Freshman of the Year, 2nd team All-SEC, 12 tackles for a loss
Jamie Collins   DE/LB   Southern Miss   Led the Golden Eagles in tackles (98) and had 19.5 TFL in 2011
Jonathan Cooper   G   North Carolina   Arguably the nation's #1 NFL guard prospect, 2nd team All-ACC last year
Scott Crichton   DE   Oregon State   1st team Freshman All-American, tied for 2nd in Pac-12 with 14.5 TFL
Kenny Demens   LB   Michigan   Michigan's leading tackler in 2011 with 94
Aaron Donald   DE   Pitt   2nd in the Big East with 11 sacks, 2nd team All-Big East
Tyler Eifert   TE   Notre Dame   Thought by many to be the clear cut best tight end in the nation
Gavin Escobar   TE   San Diego State   1st team All-MWC in 2011, 2nd team All-MWC in 2010
Chris Faulk   OT   LSU   2nd team All-SEC in 2011 after moving from right to left tackle
Joseph Fauria   TE   UCLA   2nd leading receiver for the Bruins, 39 receptions and 6 TDs
Sharrif Floyd   DE   Florida   Highly talented lineman who has chance to star nationally in 2012
DJ Fluker   OT   Alabama   Emerging as Alabama's most talented OL, started all 13 games last year
Blaize Foltz   G   TCU  

1st team All-MWC after rebounding from 2010 season ending injury

Winston Fraser   LB   FIU   1st team All-Sun Belt, led the Golden Panthers with 108 tackles
Travis Frederick   C/G   Wisconsin   All-Big 10 candidate, Rimington Award Watch list in 2012
Dalton Freeman   C   Clemson   1st team All-ACC center, 22 career starts
Ben Gardner   DE   Stanford   2nd team All-Pac 12 playing opposite Thomas, had 10 TFL in 2011
James Gayle   DE   Virginia Tech   2nd team All-ACC, listed as Pre-season 1st team candidate for 2012
William Gholston   DE   Michigan State   Thought to be one of the top NFL prospects, 2nd team All-Big 10 last year
Ryne Giddins   DE   USF   2nd team All-Big East, finished the season with 11 TFL and 5.5 sacks
Khaseem Greene   LB   Rutgers   Big East co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2011
Steve Greer   LB   Virginia   2nd team All-ACC, led the Wahoos with 103 tackles on the season
Ryan Griffin   TE   U Conn   1st team All-Big East last season
Jeremy Grove   LB   East Carolina   CUSA Freshman Defensive Player of the Year, 122 tackles in 2011
Ben Habern   C   Oklahoma   Injuries cost him half of season, arguably best C in Big 12 when healthy
Johnathan Hankins   DT   Ohio State   Pre-season All-American/Big 10, voted most outstanding OSU DL in 2011
Braden Hansen   G   BYU  

Four year anchor of the BYU OL, 39 career starts in three years

Eric Herman   G   Ohio   2nd team All-MAC in 2011, has started 38 times in three years
Jordan Hicks   LB   Texas   Strong finish to 2011 season could catapult him to storied year in 2012
Jordan Hill   DT   Penn State   Honorable mention All-Big 10, registered 8 tackles for a loss
Gerald Hodges   LB   Penn State   Pre-season All-American candidate and best player at Linebacker U
Khaled Holmes   C   USC   Three year starter at center, 2nd Team All-Pac 12 in 2011
Wes Horton   DE   USC   2nd team All-Pac 12 in 2011, 22 career starts
Margus Hunt   DE   SMU   Honorable Mention CUSA selection, blocked 4 kicks
Alex Hurst   OT   LSU   1st team All-SEC selection in 2011, started all 14 games
James Hurst   OT   North Carolina   2nd team All-ACC in 2011, graded out at 88% during the season
Gabe Ikard   G   Oklahoma   1st team All-Big 12 in 2011, Pre-season All-American candidate
Gabe Jackson   G   Mississippi State   2nd team All-SEC, 26 career starts
Andrew Jackson   LB   Western Kentucky   Sun Belt's returning leader with 17 tackles for a loss
Jackson Jeffcoat   DE   Texas   Led the Big 12 in TFL (21), 2nd team All-Big 12
Brandon Jenkins   DE   Florida State  

2nd team All-ACC, 2nd in the ACC with 8 sacks (most for returning player)

Jelani Jenkins   LB   Florida   Talented player who should vie for All-SEC & All-American honors
John Jenkins   NT   Georgia   Prototype 3-4 nose tackle who will push for All-SEC honors
Luke Joeckel   OT   Texas A&M   One of the nation's top prospects at the toughest position in football
Nico Johnson   LB   Alabama   Key cog on one of nation's best defensive units in 2011, 43 tackles
Travis Johnson   DE   San Jose State   1st team All-WAC, 9.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for a loss
Barrett Jones   C/G/T   Alabama   All-American, 1st team All-SEC and Outland Trophy winner in 2011
Chris Jones   DL   Bowling Green   1st team All-MAC in 2011, 3rd team All-MAC in 2010
Jarvis Jones   OLB   Georgia   Consensus 1st team All-American, Butkus Award finalist
Dion Jordan   DE   Oregon   1st team All-Pac 12 performer, finished 4th in conference with 7.5 sacks
Joe Kellogg   G   Boise State   2nd team All-MWC, three year starter for the Broncos, 21 career starts
Zac Kerin   C   Toledo   2nd team All-MAC selection, started all 13 games as a sophomore
A.J. Klein   LB   Iowa State   Big 12's leading returning tackler (116), 1st team All-Big 12 last season
Jake Knott   LB   Iowa State   4th in the Big 12 in tackles (115), 2X 2nd team All-Big 12 honoree
Tyler Larsen   C   Utah State   1st team All-WAC offensive lineman selection in 2011
DeDe Lattimore   LB   USF   Led the Bulls with 94 tackles, tied for fifth in the conference
Corey Lemonier   DE   Auburn   Explosive edge rusher that led Auburn with 9.5 sacks in 2011
Taylor Lewan   OT   Michigan   2nd team All-Big 10, 22 career starts at left tackle
Shaun Lewis   LB   Oklahoma State   Honorable mention All-Big 12, 61 tackles, 9.5 TFL and two interceptions
Rob Lohr   DE/DT   Vanderbilt   Had 11.5 tackles for a loss last year, most of any returning SEC player
Spencer Long   G   Nebraska   Honorable mention All-Big 10 (coaches), started all 13 games at guard
Travis Long   DE/OLB   Washington State   One of three Cougars to receive post-season All-Pac 12 honors (2nd team)
Star Lotulelei   DT   Utah   Thought to be the best nose tackle in college football, 9 TFL in 2011
Philip Lutzenkirchen   TE   Auburn   Has caught more TDs than any other tight end in Auburn history (14)
Khalil Mack   LB   Buffalo   1st team All-MAC selection, tied for the MAC lead with 20.5 TFL in 2011
Trent Mackey   LB   Tulane   2X 1st team All-CUSA selection, finished with 145 tackles in 2011
Joe Madsen   C   West Virginia   Anchors the middle for WVU offense that averaged nearly 38 ppg in 2011
Stansly Maponga   DE   TCU   1st team All-MWC, finished the year with 13.5 tackles for a loss
Zack Martin   OT   Notre Dame   Voted Notre Dame's outstanding offensive linemen the past two seasons
Jake Matthews   OT   Texas A&M   Establishing his own identity, teams with Joeckel to form best T combo
Chris McDonald   G   Michigan State   Honorable mention All-Big 10, has 26 career starts
Barkevious Mingo   DE   LSU   One half of, arguably, the best DE duo in nation, 15 tackles for a loss
Sam Montgomery   DE   LSU   FWAA 1st team All-American selection, Hendricks Award finalist
Sio Moore   LB   U Conn   2nd team All-Big East, Big East's returning leader in TFL (16)
James Morris   LB   Iowa   Honorable mention All-Big 10, tied for team lead in tackles with 110
Morgan Moses   OT   Virginia   Formidable OT duo in Charlottesville, first team All-ACC prospect in 2012
C.J. Mosley   LB   Alabama   Will vie for All-SEC honors, 36 tackles and two sacks in 2011
Jeff Nady   OT   Nevada   2nd team All-WAC as a junior, one of top tackles on West Coast
Corey Nelson   LB   Oklahoma   Honorable mention All-Big 12, finished with 59 tackles and 8.5 TFL
Roosevelt Nix   DE   Kent State   37 tackles for a loss in two years, 1st team All-MAC selection in 2011
Alex Okafor   DE   Texas   Pre-season All-Big 12 and All-American candidate, 14 TFL in 2011
Kevin Pierre-Louis   LB   Boston College   Registered 74 tackles and six tackles for a loss for the Eagles last year
Sean Porter   LB   Texas A&M   Disruptive edge player who was fifth in the Big 12 in 2011 with 17 TFL
Sean Progar   DE   Northern Illinois   2X Rotary Lombardi Award Watch lister, 11 TFL in 2011
Justin Pugh   OT   Syracuse   1st team All-Big East in 2011, 2nd team All-Big East in 2010
Hayes Pullard   LB   USC   Freshman All-American, tied for team lead in tackles with 81
David Quessenberry   OT   San Jose State   2nd team All-WAC, projects to one of the top 30 tackles in the nation
Kevin Reddick   LB   North Carolina   Leading returning tackler for the Heels, registered 71 last season
Taylor Reed   LB   SMU   Led team with 101 tackles, 2X RLA Watch List candidate
Cyril Richardson   G   Baylor   Honorable mention All-Big 12, started all 13 games last season
Weston Richburg   C   Colorado State   2nd team All-MWC in 2011, 1st team Freshman All-American in 2010
Marcus Rush   DE   Michigan State   Freshman All-American and Honorable mention All-Big 10
Kawann Short   DT   Purdue   Bednarik Watch Lister, finished season with 17 tackles for a loss
John Simon   DE   Ohio State   1st team All-Big 10, 3rd team All-American last season
Shayne Skov   LB   Stanford   Knee injury shortened his season, if healthy, he'll be 1st All-Pac 12
Adam Smith   G   Western Kentucky   1st team All-Sun Belt, allowed only 3 sacks during 2011 season
Keith Smith   LB   San Jose State   2nd team All-WAC as a sophomore, led Spartans with 104 tackles
Akeem Spence   DT   Illinois   Nose tackle who is 2nd leading returning tackler for Illini defense
Baker Steinkuhler   DT   Nebraska   Honorable mention All-Big 10, finished 2011 season with 5 TFL
Jake Stoneburner   TE   Ohio State   Honorable mention All-Big 10, 7 of his 14 receptions were TDs
Bruce Taylor   LB   Virginia Tech   Had stellar season in 2011 before injuring his foot and missing 4 games
Devin Taylor   DE   South Carolina   Honorable mention All-SEC in 2011, 15.5 career sacks
Lane Taylor   G   Oklahoma State   Honorable mention All-Big 12 in 2011, best returning Cowboy OL
Mike Taylor   LB   Wisconsin   Led the Badgers with 150 tackles, 2nd team All-Big 10 (coaches) in 2011
Manti Te'o   LB   Notre Dame   2nd team All-American and preseason All-American candidate for 2012
Chase Thomas   LB   Stanford   2nd in sacks in the Pac-12 (8.5), 1st team All-Pac 12 in 2011
Levine Toilolo   TE   Stanford   Next in line at Tight End U, honorable mention All-Pac 12 in 2011
Omoregie Uzzi   G   Georgia Tech   One of the nation's best guards, strong candidate for All-American honors
Kyle Van Noy   LB   BYU   Led the Cougars in sacks with 7 and tackles for a loss with 15
Joe Vellano   DT   Maryland   1st team All-ACC in 2011, 2nd team All-ACC in 2010
LaAdrian Waddle   OT   Texas Tech   Tech coaches have raved about Waddle's potential, 2nd team All-Big 12
Ricky Wagner   OT   Wisconsin   Pre-season All-Big 10 candidate, honorable mention All-Big 10 in 2011
Brian Wagner   LB   Arizona   2x 1st team All-MAC at Akron, graduate student eligible after transfer
Mason Walters   G   Texas   25 starts at guard in 1st two years, Honorable mention All-Big 12 last year
Larry Warford   G   Kentucky   2nd team All-SEC, allowed only one sack last season
Chance Warmack   G   Alabama   Voted 2nd team All-SEC by the league's coaches in 2011
Stephen Warner   C   La. Tech   1st team All-WAC offensive lineman selection in 2011
Bjoern Werner   DE   Florida State   Honorable mention All-ACC, 2nd on team with 11 TFL in 2011
Nikita Whitlock   DT   Wake Forest   2nd team All-ACC, 2nd leading returning ACC player with 14 TFL
Jesse Williams   DE   Alabama   Australian native who has been a star for Crimson Tide, 4 tackles for a loss
Sylvester Williams   DT   North Carolina   Former JUCO transfer who made impact in 1st year, 7 tackles for a loss
Trevardo Williams   DE   U Conn   1st team All-Big East honors in 2011
Luke Willson   TE   Rice   Honorable mention ALL-CUSA,2xMackey Award Watch
Brian Winters   OT   Kent State   2nd team All-MAC selection, 36 career starts at tackle
Dwayne Woods   LB   Bowling Green   3rd leading returning tackler in the MAC (111), 1st team All-MAC
Carson York   G   Oregon   Experienced starter for the Ducks coming off of a knee injury in bowl

National College Football Awards Association

The Rotary Lombardi Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game's predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association's official website,

The members of the NCFAA are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a 12-day period this month. Fifteen of the association's 21 awards select a preseason watch list and the NCFAA has spearheaded a coordinated effort to promote each award's preseason candidates. Following is the complete 2012 preseason watch list calendar:

Mon., July 9: Bednarik Award / Maxwell Award

Tue., July 10: Mackey Award / Rimington Trophy

Wed., July 11: Lou Groza Award / Ray Guy Award

Thurs., July 12: Bronko Nagurski Trophy / Outland Trophy

Fri., July 13: Jim Thorpe Award

Mon., July 16: Butkus Award / Rotary Lombardi Award

Tue., July 17: Biletnikoff Award

Wed., July 18: Davey O'Brien Award

Thurs., July 19: Doak Walker Award

Fri., July 20: Walter Camp Award

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