The Rotary Lombardi Award has been presented annually since 1970 by the Rotary Club of Houston. Prior to 2016, the award recognized the top offensive or defensive lineman or linebacker in college football. Now the criteria has been changed, but Alabama is still well-represented on the watch list.
Beginning this season, the Rotary Lombardi Award is now open to college football players regardless of position who “demonstrate outstanding performance and skill in offensive or defensive positions and best exemplify the discipline, virtue, and wisdom that defined Vincent Lombardi's exceptional brand of leadership.” The award is named in honor of legendary Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi.
Nine players from Alabama on the 2016 Lombardi Award watch list. They are:
Defensive linemen Jonanthan Allen, Da’Shawn Hand, Da’Ron Payne, and Dalvin Tomlinson; linebackers Ryan Anderson, Reuben Foster, and Tim Williams; tight end O.J. Howard; and offensive tackle Cam Robinson.
They are among 158 players from around the country named to the preseason list that now recognizes the nation’s top college football player. Alabama’s Cornelius Bennett won the award in 1986.
Alabama’s nine candidates equals Clemson’s for the most in the nation.
The award ceremony date will be announced later.