You thought there would only be one preseason award watch list announcement today? Think again, my friends.
The Butkus Award list came out earlier today, and now the Rotary Lombardi Award has been unveiled. The Lombardi Award contains my favorite criteria for any honor. Those eligible for the trophy include A) offensive or defensive end-to-end down linemen who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball; B) linebackers who set up no farther than 5 yards deep from the line of scrimmage; and C) brooding superheroes whose movies come out this week. OK, I made the last part up because I may be a little too excited for "The Dark Knight Rises."
But the A and B requirements cover a lot of players, and the Big Ten has put a lot of candidates on this list. And at least this one managed to remember Wisconsin's Mike Taylor.
The honorees are:
Denicos Allen, LB, Michigan State
Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin
Jonathan Brown, LB, Illinois
Michael Buchanan, DE, Illinois
Max Bullough, LB, Michigan State
Kenny Demens, LB, Michigan
Travis Frederick, C/G, Wisconsin
William Gholston, DE, Michigan Stat
Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Jordan Hill, DT, Penn State
Gerald Hodges, LB, Penn State
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Spencer Long, G, Nebraska
Chris McDonald, G, Michigan State
James Morris, LB, Iowa
Marcus Rush, DE, Michigan State
Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
John Simon, DE, Ohio State
Akeem Spence, DT, Illinois
Baker Steinkuhler, DT, Nebraska
Jake Stoneburner, TE, Ohio State
Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin
Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
Again, this award covers a lot of territory and creates some interesting decisions. How do you compare, for instance, what Gholston does to what Frederick does? Still, this list hits just about every big name in the league going into 2012, though others could certainly emerge.