HOUSTON – University of Notre Dame junior defensive end Ethan Johnson, junior tight end Kyle Rudolph and sophomore linebacker Manti Te'o have been named to the preliminary watch list for the 2010 Rotary Lombardi Award.
Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, or linebackers who set up no farther than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage.
Johnson led the Fighting Irish with four sacks in 2009 as a defensive tackle but moves to defensive end in Notre Dame's 3-4 defense this year. Johnson ranked third on the team with six and a half tackles for loss and his 32 tackles were ninth most on the team in 2009.
One of only three tight ends named to the watch list, Rudolph ranked third on the Irish last year in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He set career highs with 33 catches for 364 yards and three TDs in 10 games and was a semifinalist for the John Mackey Award.
Te'o totaled 63 tackles in his freshman season, the third-most tackles ever by an Irish freshman and ranked fourth on the team last season. He became a full-time starter in the fifth game of 2009 and posted 57 tackles over the last eight games, second most on the Irish.
The Rotary Lombardi Watch List will be periodically updated and revised through the conclusion of the voting to determine the 12 semifinalists for 2010.
The 41st Rotary Lombardi Award will be held Dec. 7-8, 2010 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.