The season is finally getting closer. The release of preseason watch lists for the major college football awards confirms it, and with a full week of candidates already announced and more to come, BuckeyeNation will break them all down to see which Ohio State representatives have a shot at bringing home some hardware.
ROTARY LOMBARDI AWARD
WHAT: Nation's top college lineman, from either side of the ball from end to end, or linebacker
CREDENTIALS: Both Hankins and Simon have a proven track record of making plays behind the line of scrimmage, and with the ability to play off each other up front for the Buckeyes, more chances figure to be on the way. Stoneburner showed his nose for the end zone last year by turning his 14 receptions into seven touchdowns, and the new Ohio State offense figures to provide him with more opportunities to get his hands on the football.
HEAD TO HEAD: Showcase opportunities against other preseason candidates -- Denicos Allen (linebacker, Michigan State), Chris Borland (linebacker, Wisconsin), Jonathan Brown (linebacker, Illinois), Michael Buchanan (defensive end, Illinois), Max Bullough (linebacker, Michigan State), Kenny Demens (linebacker, Michigan), Travis Frederick (offensive line, Wisconsin), William Gholston (defensive end, Michigan State), Jordan Hill (defensive tackle, Penn State), Gerald Hodges (linebacker, Penn State), Taylor Lewan (offensive tackle, Michigan), Spencer Long (guard, Nebraska), Chris McDonald (guard, Michigan State), Marcus Rush (defensive end, Michigan State), Kawann Short (defensive tackle, Purdue), Baker Steinkuhler (defensive tackle, Nebraska), Mike Taylor (linebacker, Wisconsin), Ricky Wagner (offensive tackle, Wisconsin)
ODDS: With such a diverse -- and lengthy -- pool of candidates, emerging as a favorite for this award can be a tricky proposition. Evaluating offensive linemen against linebackers, for example, isn't something that can be done easily with statistics. All three options for the Buckeyes figure to be in the mix for awards at their own positions though, so that could potentially keep them in play for the Lombardi.