The Lombardi Award, which has my personal favorite description for its award, released its 145-man preseason watch list (you'll see why in a bit) and the Big 12 landed 17 players on it.
Here's who's eligible:
Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
Blaize Foltz, OG, TCU
Ben Habern, C, Oklahoma
Jordan Hicks, LB, Texas
Gabe Ikard, OG, Oklahoma
Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
A.J. Klein, LB, Iowa State
Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State
Shaun Lewis, LB, Oklahoma State
Joe Madsen, C, West Virginia
Stansly Maponga, DE, TCU
Corey Nelson, LB, Oklahoma
Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor
Lane Taylor, OG, Oklahoma State
LaAdrian Waddle, OT, Texas Tech
Mason Walters, OG, Texas
That's quite a hefty list. Here's the description I love to hear every year for who can win the award:
To be considered for the Rotary Lombardi Award players must be a Division I college football team member and meet the following qualifications:
Be a down lineman, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, setting up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball at the time of snap.
Be a linebacker on defense, setting up no farther than 5 yards deep from the line of scrimmage.
May not come out of the offensive backfield and set up on the line of scrimmage as a blocker or receiver, or be listed as a back or receiver.
Shows leadership, courage, desire, respect for authority and discipline.
The voting electorate is made up of the head coaches from all Division I schools, sports media personnel from across the country and former winners and finalists of the Rotary Lombardi Award. Currently the total number of voters is approximately 500.
Complicated, no? It's fun anyway. It also has my favorite trophy of any of the college football awards. I'm an unashamed Lombardi Award lover, folks.
Boston College's Luke Kuechly won the award last season. Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh (2009) was the last player from the Big 12 to win the award. Texas' Brian Orakpo (2008) was the last player from the current Big 12 configuration to win it.
Oklahoma and Texas both have three winners all-time, tied for the fourth-most nationally. Nebraska's five winners is second all-time behind only Ohio State (six).