Hau’oli Kikaha

Arizona’s Scooby Wright adds Lombardi Award to postseason haul

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Just days after being awarded the Bronko Nagurski Award, Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright was named this year’s winner of the Lombardi Award. The Lombardi Award is given to the nation’s top defensive lineman or linebacker by the Rotary Club of Houston.

‘It’s a great honor, but it’s representative of the University of Arizona defense and the whole program,” Wright said, according to the Associated Press, after winning the Lombardi Award. Asked to identify his favorite play this season, Wright singled out sacking Oregon’s Heisman Trophy favorite quarterback Marcus Mariota in a regular season victory in Eugene and forcing a fumble and picking it up and scoring against rival Arizona.

Wright, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year,  is a finalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award.

Other finalists for the Lombardi Award included Clemson senior defensive end Vic Beasley, Washington senior linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha and Ohio State sophomore defensive end Joey Bosa.

Oregon’s Marcus Mariota wins inaugural Polynesian award

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Add another award to Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota’s collection. A day after winning the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Mariota was named the inaugural Polynesian College Football Player of the Year. The award is presented by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame.

“Marcus has orchestrated one of the most prolific offenses in college football this season,” Polynesian Football Hall of Fame co-founder Jesse Sapolu said in a released statement announcing Mariota the recipient of the new award.  “He truly represents the very best of our Polynesian culture.”

The award is designed to honor the most outstanding Polynesian college football player that epitomizes great ability and integrity. Mariota, from Honolulu, is also the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this week, as well as some other notable quarterback awards. Mariota would be the first player of Polynesian descent to win the Heisman Trophy. Mariota helped lead Oregon to the Pac-12 championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff. He and the Ducks will face defending BCS national champion Florida State in the Rose Bowl in one semifinal game.

Mariota beat out four other finalists for the award: Hawaii wide receiver and kick returner Scott Harding, Washington linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha, Utah defensive end Nate Orchard and Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon.

Baylor’s Shawn Oakman living on the outside edge

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If every player in college football is allowed a second chance, then Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman is making the most of his. Oakman has become one of the nation’s top defensive ends. Motivation from his unfortunate end to his time at Penn State have served Oakman well as he continues to be a key contributor to Baylor’s defensive efforts.

Oakman was dismissed from Penn State in the spring of 2012 following an arrest over harassment and retail theft. Because Oakman was dismissed by the university months before the NCAA slammed Penn State with sanctions (which of course have been trimmed), Oakman was not eligible to play right away in the fall of 2012 once arriving at Baylor. Oakman did not qualify under the NCAA’s free transfer opportunity for current Penn State players at the time sanctions were levied.

The wait was worth it for Oakman and Baylor. In his first season with the Bears Oakman earned all-Big 12 honors. This season Oakman is considered an All-American candidate and appears on multiple watch lists. Through three games, Oakman has totaled three sacks and four tackles for a loss.

Oakman has many of the skills NFL scouts will pay attention to for a defensive end. He can be quick off the snap and is difficult to contain on the outside edge. This is why Josh Norris of Rotoworld believes Oakman is the best defensive end in the country coming off the edge.

Bednarik Award watch list names 76 players

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Watchlist season continued Monday with the release of the 2014 Chuck Bednarik Award watch list by the Maxwell Football Club. A total of 76 players were named to the watch list.

The Chuck Bednarik Award is awarded to the nation’s top defensive player as determined by the Maxwell Football Club. Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald was named the Bednarik Award winner each of the first two years the award was presented (1995 and 1996), and Penn State has had four Bednarik Award winners, the most of any school. Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald was the 2013 Bednarik Award winner.

This year’s watch list includes three of last year’s semifinalists, Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley, Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and USC defensive end Leonard Williams. Georgia has three linebackers on the watch list and Stanford continues to gain respect on defense with four players named to the watch list.

Here is the 2014 Bednarik Award watch list:

DE Henry Anderson, Stanford

LB Stephone Anthony, Clemson

DE Vic Beasley, Clemson

DT Michael Bennett, Ohio State

DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State

LB Kelby Brown, Duke

DT Malcom Brown, Texas

DE Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State

CB Alex Carter, Stanford

S Sam Carter, TCU

S Jeremy Cash, Duke

DE Frank Clark, Michigan

S Landon Collins, Alabama

DT Christian Covington, Rice

S Su’a Cravens, USC

DT Carl Davis, Iowa

LB Trey DePriest, Alabama

CB Quandre Diggs, Texas

CB Lorenzo Doss, Tulane

S Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State

DE Alvin Dupree, Kentucky

DE Mario Edwards, Florida State

CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon

LB Kyler Fackrell, Utah State

DE Devonte Fields, TCU

DE Try Flowers, Arkansas

LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia

DE Dante Fowler, Florida

CB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech

DE Markus Golden, Missouri

DE Randy Gregory, Nebrska

LB Bryce Hager, Baylor

CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida

DE Eli Harold, Virginia

S Anthony Harris, Virginia

LB Ben Heeney, Kansas

DT Chucky Hunter, TCU

DE Martin Ifedl, Memphis

LB Myles Jack, UCLA

DT Grady Jarrett, Clemson

LB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia

LB A.J. Johnson, Tennessee

S Karl Joseph, West Virginia

LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA

LB Hau’oli Kikaha, Washington

CB Jordan Lucas, Penn State

DT Luther Maddy, Virginia Tech

LB Tyler Matakevich, Temple

LB Lorenzo Mauldin, Louisville

LB Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State

DE Ryan Mueller, Kansas State

DE Shawn Oakman, Baylor

DE Norkeithus Otis, North Carolina

LB Denzel Perryman, Miami

LB Terrance Plummer, UCF

S Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss

LB Hayes Pullard, USC

DE Cedric Reed, Texas

S Jordan Richards, Stanford

DE A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama

DT James Rouse, Marshall

CB KeiVarae Russell, Notre Dame

LB Jake Ryan, Michigan

LB Frank Shannon, Oklahoma

DT Danny Shelton, Washington

S Derron Smith, Fresno State

LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame

LB Eric Striker, Oklahoma

DE Charles Tapper, Oklahoma

LB A.J. Tarpley, Stanford

S Robenseon Therezie, Auburn

LB Shaq Thompson, Washington

CB Trae Waynes, Michigan State

DE Leonard Williams, USC

CB P.J. Williams, Florida State

LB Ramik Wilson, Georgia

Earlier today the Paul Hornung Award watch list was released. The Maxwell Award watch list was released alongside the Bednarik Award watch list as well.