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Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, Bryce Love among Lombardi Award candidates

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The college football season may be in the books for the 2017 season, bu there is still a piece of hardware to present to one of the sport’s top players from the most recent season. On Monday, the Lombardi Foundation unveiled a list of 21 players named as a candidate for the Lombardi Award for the 2017 season. This year, the award is open to players of any position based on performance, leadership, character and resiliency and the list of candidates includes a number of names you should be familiar with.

2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, Bryce Love, Saquon Barkley, Roquan Smith, and J.T. Barrett are all among the players nominated for the award. The list of 21 candidates will be whittled down to seven finalists by a select panel of award voters this week, and four of those finalists will be invited to the Lombardi Honors presentation for the awarding of the Lombardi Award. The seven initial finalists will be announced this coming Monday, January 22.

Saquon Barkley, Penn State (RB)
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State (QB)
Bradley Chubb, N.C. State (DE)
Tyrell Crosby, Oregon (OT)
DeShon Elliott, Texas (S)
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama (S)
Shaquem Griffin, UCF (LB)
Lamar Jackson, Louisville (QB)
Derwin James, Florida State (S)
Joel Lanning, Iowa State (LB/QB)
Bryce Love, Stanford (RB)
Hercules Mata’afa, Washington State (DE)
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (QB)
Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame (G)
Ed Oliver, Houston (DT)
Da’Ron Payne, Alabama (DT)
Rashaad Penny, San Diego State (RB)
Roquan Smith, Georgia (LB)
Vita Vea, Washington (DT)
James Washington, Oklahoma State (WR)
Christian Wilkins, Clemson (DT)

Alabama’s Jonathan Allen won the award for the 2016 season.

Alabama cruising to fifth straight recruiting national championship

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Alabama may not have added any hardware to the postseason trophy cases in Tuscaloosa, but Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide are on cruise control to another recruiting national championship. Alabama is the leader in the latest team recruiting rankings for the Class of 2015 with just over two weeks until National Signing Day.

Alabama has scored the top recruiting haul each season since 2011, so Alabama’s spot atop the current team rankings is hardly a surprise. This year’s haul currently includes the nation’s top running back, Damien Harris (profile), and the nation’s top wide receiver, Calvin Ridley (profile). Alabama also has a commitment from the state’s top recruit, defensive tackle Daron Payne (profile) and the top prospect out of New Jersey, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (profile). California dual-threat quarterback Blake Barnett (profile) is a four-star addition to the recruiting class as well.

Skim down the Rivals 100 and you will see nine players committed to Alabama, and six more undecided players are considered in the running for Alabama. Alabama has four five-star players currently in line to join the program. Only Florida State has more five-star players (five). While some programs must operate by a quality over quantity approach, Alabama uses both. Of Alabama’s 26 players currently committed, 20 are either four or five-star recruits.

Another year goes by but it is the same old pattern for Saban and company. Alabama does not rebuild, it simply reloads.

2015 Rivals Team Rankings (as of 1/20/2015)

1. Alabama

2. Florida State

3. USC

4. Clemson

5. Tennessee

6. Georgia

7. Ohio State

8. Notre Dame

9. Texas A&M

10. Auburn

11. Texas

12. Penn State

13. South Carolina

14. Oklahoma

15. Mississippi State

16. Oregon

17. LSU

18. UCLA

19. Miami FL

20. Virginia Tech

Full team rankings via Rivals.