The crowded field, which includes 144 names, is a somewhat eclectic mix of players who play close to the ball at the snap. 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. The candidates earned a place on the preliminary Watch List by earning All-American honors, being named to their respective all-conference teams or receiving 2015 preseason honors.
Kwiatkoski, a native of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, played in all 13 games in 2014 and led the Mountaineers with 103 tackles, including a team-leading 71 unassisted tackles and 11.5 tackles for loss and had four pass breakups. He posted five double-figure tackle performances and two or more tackles for loss in three games. His top performance was 12 tackles, including 10 solo stops and three tackles for loss at Maryland.
As with most college awards, the watch list can be updated throughout the season. The 46th Rotary Lombardi Award will be held on December 9, 2015 at the Bayou Music Center in Houston, Tex. Eleven Big 12 players are on the watch list.