One of the top returning defensive players in the Southeastern Conference, Quentin Groves is one of nine players to return to the Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List this season, which has 43 players overall. Eligibility for the Lombardi Award is limited to defensive linemen and players who line up within five yards of the line of scrimmage.
A native of Greenville, Miss., Groves decided to return for his senior season after contemplating a move to the NFL. As a junior Groves finished with a team-leading 9.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss to go with 37 total tackles.
Groves lays the wood on Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson.
His play was good enough for him to earn Coaches and Associated Press All-SEC First Team honors. Groves was named the FWAA/Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week as well as the SEC's Defensive Player of the Week after finishing with three sacks and two quarterback hurries in Auburn's 27-17 victory over Florida on Oct. 14.
His second honor in the league came against rival Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He had two first-half sacks and seven total tackles in the Tigers' 22-15 victory at Alabama, their fifth victory in a row in the series.
With 23 sacks in 40 career games, Groves is easily within striking distance of the team-record 26 career sacks put up by Gerald Robinson from 1982-1985.
The Rotary Lombardi Watch List will be narrowed down to 12 semifinalists by a selection committee before the 38th annual winner will be honored on Dec. 5 at the Hilton Americas Hotel in Houston.