November 3, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sarah Marie Blanton, Harris County – Houston Sports Authority
2014 Rotary Lombardi Award Semi-finalists
HOUSTON –Ten defensive and two offensive players comprise the list of 12 semifinalists for the 45th Rotary Lombardi Award to be held December 10, 2014, at Bayou Music Center in Houston, Texas. The semifinalists were announced today by the Rotary Club of Houston at NRG Stadium.
The SEC and Pac 12 Conference leads the pack with four players each, followed by the Big Ten with three players, the ACC with one player.
The 12 semifinalists are:
Vic Beasley DE Sr Clemson
Joey Bosa DE So Ohio State
Shilique Calhoun DE Jr Michigan State
Reese Dismukes C Sr Auburn
Hau'oli Kikaha LB Sr Washington
Benardrick McKinney LB Jr Mississippi State
Robert Nkemdiche DT So Ole Miss
Nate Orchard DE Sr Utah
Shane Ray DE Jr Missouri
Brandon Scherff T Sr Iowa
Leonard Williams DE Jr USC
Scooby Wright LB So Arizona
Redshirt senior defensive end Vic Beasley in 2014 is one of the most explosive pass rushers in the ACC. Bednarik, Hendricks, Lombardi, Nagurski, and Walter Camp Award Watch List’s member in the preseason. Also named preseason ACC Player-of-the-Year by Sporting News.
Joey Bosa is a physical and talented performer who started 10 times as a true freshman in 2013 ... he was named a freshman All-American by The Sporting News and College Football News and named honorable mention all-Big Ten Conference. He enters the 2014 season with at least one tackle-for-loss in six consecutive games (9.5 total TFLs in that time; -55 yards) and with at least one quarterback sack in five consecutive games.
Junior Shilique Calhoun was named a midseason All American and named to Watch lists for Walter Camp, Bednarik, Lombardi, and Nagurski Awards. Calhoun was 2013 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year and currently has five sacks and seven and half tackles for loss this season.
Reese Dismukes, a senior from Spanish Fort, Alabama is a four year starter for Auburn University. Playing center, he anchors the Tiger’s offensive line, and was selected as a preseason All-American coming into the 2014 season.
Hau’oli Kikaha was named the Midseason National Defensive Player of the Year by ESPN and also named to The Sporting News' Midseason All-America team and to Phil Steele's Midseason All-America second team. He is also one of 15 semi-finalists for the Butkus Award and enters the week of the Colorado game as the nation's sacks leader with 14.5, as well as the nation's tackles for loss leader, with 19.5.
Redshirt junior Benardick McKinney is rated as the top underclass inside linebacker prospect by Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN. He is on the 2014 Bednarik, Nagurski, Butkus, and Lombardi Award Watch List. After earning All American team in each of his first two seasons, McKinney now leads the #1 team in the country with 50 tackles. His 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks are second best.
As a sophomore DT out of Loganville, Ga., Robert Nkemdiche has drawn comparisons to NFL star Ndamukonh Suh from him D-line coach at Ole Miss. Selected to the preseason All-SEC first team and second team preseason All-American, Nkemdiche is a cornerstone of the Rebel’s defense.
Senior All-Conference Defensive End candidate Nate Orchard has played in all 37 games in the last three years with 23 starts. Orchard has five career forced fumbles which is tied for fifth in Utah University school history. In his collegiate career, Orchard has been named Athlon National Defensive Player of the Week, All-Pac-12 Honorable mention and second team Academic All-Pac-12. This season, Nate Orchard has played in 8 games recording 55 total (36 solo), 2 pass deflections and 1 fumble recovery.
Shane Ray, a redshirt Junior Defensive Lineman provided a huge impact for the 2013 Tigers defense, recording 39 tackles in 14 games, including 9 Tackles-for-loss, 4.5 QB sacks, 11 QB pressures (2nd-most on the team) and 2 forced fumbles. Ray also made one of the seminal plays of the season, when he scooped up an Oklahoma State fumble late in the Cotton Bowl and raced the other way, untouched, for a game clinching 73 yard touchdown. Shane Ray is a speedy rush end who brings energy and Big-Play ability every snap.
Iowa Senior offensive left tackle Brandon Scherff has helped the Hawkeyes post a 6-2 record to date, including a 3-1 Big Ten Conference mark. Earlier this season he was named a first team mid-season All-American by ESPN.com, CBSSports.com, Sporting News.com and Phil Steele. Prior to the season Scherff was one of five players named to the Big Ten Conference West Division Players to Watch list. Prior to his final season Scherff was named to Watch Lists for the Rotary Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy. He was a pre-season first team All-American by USA Today, Bleacher Report, and College Sports Madness. A year ago, Scherff started all 13 games as Iowa posted an 8-5 record. He was named second team All-America by the Football Writers Association (FWAA) and third team All-America by both Athlon Sports and Lindy’s. He earned first team All-Big Ten honors from league coaches and was Iowa’s offensive Most Valuable Player. He has been a member of Iowa’s Leadership Group in each of the last four years
Southern California’s Defensive End, Leonard Williams, enters his Junior season with 22 career starts recording 138 tackles, including 27 for losses (with 14 sacks), 4 pass deflections, 3 fumble recoveries and 1 interception in his career. The 2013 All-American was named to the 2013 ESPN.com All-American first team, the 2013 All-Pac-12 first team, ESPN.com All-Pac-12 first team, Sporting News All-Pac-12 first team, Athlon All-Pac-12 first team and Phil Steele All-Pac-12 first team. Williams was also named USC's 2013 Defensive Lineman of the Year.
Arizona Linebacker, Scooby Wright, Played in all 13 games and started 12 at sam linebacker. Wright was named Freshman All-America by 247sports.com and second-team Freshman All-America by Athlon Sports. Wright also earned All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention honors collecting 83 tackles to rank No. 3 among the Wildcats and No. 2 among Pac-12 freshmen. Wright also had 9.5 tackles for a loss of 29 yards totaling 11 tackles for a career high in the victory at California.
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Rotary Lombardi Award
The Rotary Lombardi Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association’s official Web site, www.NCFAA.org.