Houston, TX (October 17, 2023) - The Lombardi Award™, in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Houston, is pleased to announce the 80 players who will compete for this year’s coveted award. The Lombardi Award™ goes annually to the college football offensive or defensive lineman who exemplifies the character and discipline of NFL Hall of Fame Head Coach Vince Lombardi in addition to outstanding performance and ability.
This year’s watch list is filled with talent from many schools and conferences, making for an exciting voting process. To be considered for the Lombardi Award™, players must be an NCAA FBS College Football team member and meet the following qualifications:
Be a down Lineman, end to end, either on offense or defense, setting up no further than ten (10) yards to the left or right of the ball at the time of the snap.
Be a Linebacker on defense, setting up no further than five (5) yards deep from the line of scrimmage.
Must not come out of the offensive backfield and set up on the line of scrimmage as a Blocker or a Receiver or listed in the program as an Offensive Back or Receiver.
Be eligible to participate in the current season.
The voting process will follow this schedule.
October 18 - 30, 2023: Vote to determine Semi-finalists.
November 1, 2023: Semi-finalists announcement.
November 2 - 13, 2023: Vote to determine Four Finalists
November 15, 2023: Four Finalists announcement.
November 17 – December 4, 2023: Final vote to determine the winner.
December 6, 2023: Lombardi Award™ Winner announced.
Introducing the 2023 Lombardi Award™ Midseason Watchlist, a compilation of exceptional linemen from across college football. This list is carefully curated by a subcommittee of the Lombardi Award™ committee, focusing on players' past on-field performances and potential for the remainder of the 2023 college football season. Only athletes who have played in at least one NCAA Division I college or university game are eligible for inclusion.
A diverse group of 100 players from all 10 FBS conferences and multiple independents make up our midseason watchlist, fueling excitement for a thrilling college football season. The Big Ten leads with 20 selections, followed by the Big 12 and SEC with 16 each. Eighteen players from last season's College Football Playoff teams (Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, and TCU) are also represented on the list.
The Big Ten conference is a reservoir of talent drawn from Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin. Within this exceptional pool of players, Olumuyiwa Fashanu and Chop Robinson, representing Penn State, are making a significant impact. Fashanu, an outstanding offensive tackle with the highest pass-blocking PFF grade as of October 13 (92.9), is poised to be one of the top selections in the 2024 NFL Draft, thanks to his imposing size and remarkable skills that are set to lead the Nittany Lions' offensive charge in 2023. On the defensive front, Chop Robinson has been a dominant presence, starting all five games at defensive end and earning recognition as an early-round prospect for the 2024 draft.
Ohio State, another powerhouse in the Big Ten, showcases remarkable talent, including Tommy Eichenberg, Michael Hall Jr., Matthew Jones, Jack Sawyer, JT Tuimoloau, and Tyleik Williams. In particular, Tuimoloau, Sawyer, and Hall Jr. are highly anticipated as first-round picks in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft. JT Tuimoloau's 17 tackles this season further solidify his reputation as a game-changing player. In addition, Illinois' defensive prowess is anchored by Jer'zhan Newton, widely recognized as one of the nation's premier defensive tackles.
Georgia and Alabama, two SEC powerhouses, have made a strong presence on our midseason list, with Georgia contributing five players and Alabama adding four. Georgia's selections are headlined by Brock Bowers, a dynamic tight end who was a 2022 finalist and is projected to be a top-10 pick. Joining him are Amarius Mims (OT), Jamon Dumas-Johnson (LB), Sedrick Van Pran (OC), and Tate Ratledge (OG). On the Alabama front, their selections include J.C. Latham, an offensive tackle known for his robust blocking and exceptional pass protection skills. He is accompanied by teammates Dallas Turner, a versatile linebacker who has already notched 26 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 2023, and Chris Braswell, a rising star at linebacker. Notably, all three Alabama players are expected to be day-one draft picks, underscoring the impressiveness of their inclusion in our watch list. Collectively, the SEC is poised to be one of the most prolific conferences in the 2023 NFL Draft, with Georgia and Alabama leading the way.
The Pac-12 is a formidable force in college football, with 13 standout players hailing from Arizona, California - Berkeley, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, USC, Utah, and Washington. Leading the charge for the Bruins is Laiatu Latu, widely regarded as the best overall edge defender in the nation, boasting an exceptional 93.7 grade on PFF and five sacks to solidify his elite status. On the other end of the conference, the Washington Huskies feature defensive end Bralen Trice, a pre-season first-team All-American known for imposing nine sacks in the 2022 season, making him a highly coveted prospect in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft. As Trice and Latu lead the way, the Pac-12's talent pool continues to impress nationally.
In the Big 12, Texas is leading the conference with four selections: Christian Jones (OT), Jaylan Ford (LB), Ja’Tavion Sanders (TE), and T’Vondre Sweat (DT). It could be argued that no other player in college football has wreaked havoc like Sweat has this year. At 6’4” and 362 lbs, he is the epitome of Texas strong. The Big 12 also has selections from BYU, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, TCU, and Texas Tech.
Furthermore, according to PFF, Notre Dame's Joe Alt is the highest-graded offensive tackle, earning a remarkable 87.2. Alt spearheads an elite Notre Dame offensive line, where he's joined by his fellow offensive tackle, Blake Fisher, on our watchlist. Alt's physical blocking and impressive pass protection abilities make him a prime candidate for a top-5 selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. In addition to Alt, another notable NFL prospect is Jared Verse from Florida State. Verse showcases his versatility as a defender, with the ability to excel at the defensive end or outside linebacker position. His season includes an impressive 2.5 sacks and 14 tackles, testifying to his disruptive pass-rushing skills. His exceptional abilities make him a promising candidate for swift success in the NFL in 2024.
By Conference: Big Ten (20), Big 12 (16), SEC (16), ACC (15), Pac-12 (13), American (7), Independent (4), Sun Belt (4), Mountain West (3), C-USA (1), MAC (1)
Complete List sorted alphabetically:
Elijah Alston, Marshall, Jr., DE
Joe Alt, Notre Dame, Jr., OT
Caleb Bacon, Iowa State, So., LB
Kelvin Banks Jr., Texas, So., OT
Jaishawn Barham, Maryland, So., LB
Graham Barton, Duke, Sr., OT
Cooper Beebe, Kansas State, Sr., OG
Brock Bowers, Georgia, Jr., TE
Chris Braswell, Alabama, Sr., LB
DeWayne Carter, Duke, Rs. Sr., DT
Barrett Carter, Clemson, Jr., LB
Duke Clemens, UCLA, Sr., OC
Javion Cohen, Miami, Jr., OG
Brandon Coleman, TCU, Sr., OG
Junior Colson, Michigan, Jr., LB
Marley Cook, Middle Tennessee, Rs. Jr., DT
Dontay Corleone, Cincinnati, Rs. So., DL
Howard Cross III, Notre Dame, Sr., DT
Tyler Davis, Clemson, Gr., DT
Justin Dedich, USC, Rs. Sr., OC
Brandon Dorlus, Oregon, Sr., DE
Ethan Downs, Oklahoma, Jr., DE
Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Georgia, Jr., LB
Tommy Eichenberg, Ohio State, Gr., LB
Jonah Elliss, Utah, Jr., DE
D'Mitri Emmanuel, Florida State, Rs. Sr., OG
Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Penn State, Jr., OT
Troy Fautanu, Washington, Jr., OT
Blake Fisher, Notre Dame, Jr., OT
Jaylan Ford, Texas, Sr., LB
Javon Foster, Missouri, Gr., OT
Zach Frazier, West Virginia, Jr., OC
Tailese Fuaga, Oregon State, Jr., OG
Dallas Gant, Toledo, Sr., LB
AJ Gillie, Louisana, Rs. Jr., OG
Ashton Gillotte, Louisville, Jr., DL
Delmar Glaze, Maryland, Rs. Jr., OT
Mason Graham, Michigan, So., DT
Cedric Gray, North Carolina, Sr., LB
Michael Hall Jr., Ohio State, Jr., DT
Christian Haynes, UConn, Rs. Sr., OG
Sincere Haynesworth, Tulane, Sr., OC
Jason Henderson, Old Dominion, Jr, LB
Branson Hickman, SMU, Jr., OC
Jay Higgins, Iowa, Sr., LB
Jaylon Hutchings, Texas Tech, Gr., DL
McKinnley Jackson, Texas A&M, Sr, DT
Nick Jackson, Iowa, Sr., LB
Kris Jenkins, Michigan, Sr., DT
Matthew Jones, Ohio State, Gr., OG
Christian Jones, Texas, Sr., OT
Michael Jurgens, Wake Forest, Rs. Sr., OG
Mohamed Kamara, Colorado State, Sr., DE
Adam Karas, Air Force, Sr., OT
Tyrice Knight, UTEP, Sr., LB
J.C. Latham, Alabama, Jr., OT
Laiatu Latu, UCLA, Sr., DE
Beaux Limmer, Arkansas, Rs. Sr., OT
Christian Mahogany, Boston College, Gr., OG
Brandon Matterson, UTSA, Sr., DT
Amarius Mims, Georgia, Jr,, OT
Jonah Monheim, USC, Rs. Jr., OT
Jordan Morgan, Arizona, Sr., OT
Gabriel Murphy, UCLA, Rs. Jr., DE
Jer'Zhan Newton, Illinois, Jr., DT
Maema Njongmeta, Wisconsin, Rs. Sr., LB
Mike Novitsky, Kansas, Rs. Sr., OC
Drake Nugent, Michigan, Gr., OC
Justin Osborne, SMU, Sr., OG
Thor Paglialong, Air Force, Sr., OC
Patrick Paul, Houston, Jr., OT
Josh Pearcy, Rice, Rs. Jr., DE
Harold Perkins, LSU, So., LB
Owen Porter, Marshall, Rs Sr, DE
Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon, Jr., OC
Keith Randolph Jr., Illinois, Jr., DT
Tate Ratledge, Georgia, Jr., OG
Chop Robinson, Penn State, Jr., DE
Ja'Tavion Sanders, Texas, Jr., TE
Jack Sawyer, Ohio State, Jr., DE
Jackson Sirmon, California - Berkley, Rs. Sr., LB
Maason Smith, LSU, So., DT
Danny Stutsman, Oklahoma, Jr., LB
Kingsley Suamataia, BYU, So., OT
T'Vondre Sweat, Texas, Sr., DT
Leonard Taylor III, Miami, So., DT
Bralen Trice, Washington, Sr., DE
Jeremiah Trotter Jr., Clemson, Jr., LB
JT Tuimoloau, Ohio State, Jr., DE
Dallas Turner, Alabama, Jr., LB
Princely Umanmielen, Florida, Jr., DE
Sedrick Van Pran, Georgia, Rs. So., OC
Jared Verse, Florida State, Rs. Jr., DE
Nathaniel Watson, Missippi State, Gr., LB
Marlowe Wax, Syracuse, Jr., LB
Damonic Williams, TCU, So., DT
Tyleik Williams, Ohio State, Jr., DT
Payton Wilson, NC State, Sr., LB
Mekhi Wingo, LSU, Jr., DT
Zak Zinter, Michigan, Sr., OG