OK, that’s an exaggeration. But just a little one.
The Rotary Lombardi Award released its 2011 preseason watch list Tuesday, which contains a whopping total of 125 players.
In its release, the Lombardi notes that “candidates earned a place on the Official Watch List by earning All-American honors last season, by being named to their respective all-conference first team last season as selected by the conference’s head coaches, by 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.”
As for eligibility, the award “is limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense of defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, and linebackers who set up no father than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage. All candidates also must be eligible to play college sports under the rules and regulations of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).”
Last year’s winner was Auburn’s Nick Fairley. No finalists for last year’s award, and just one of the 12 semifinalists — Nebraska’s Jared Crick — are on this preseason’s watch list.
And, no, there will be no conference breakdown like we normally do as the list is just too damn long and I’m inherently lazy, but we will do a quick positional breakdown: 37 linebackers, 21 defensive ends, 20 offensive tackles, 17 guards, 16 defensive tackles and 12 centers. Three players were listed as the generic “defensive lineman” — Texas’ Kheeston Randall, Missouri’s Brad Madison and Texas A&M’s Tony Jerod-Eddie. Randall is listed as a defensive tackle on the team’s official website, so that’s where he goes in our breakdown.
Additionally, Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw is listed as a DE/LB by the Lombardi folks; Tennessee’s Malik Jackson as a DE/DT; Georgia’s Cordy Glenn a G/T; and Mississippi State’s Quentin Saulsberry a G/C. We placed them at whichever position they are listed at on the most recent depth chart released by their respective schools.
For the complete list of 2011 Lombardi watch listers, click HERE.