HOUSTON – Baylor football had four players, Kyle Fuller, Shock Linwood, Seth Russell and Taylor Young, make the preliminary watch list for the Rotary Lombardi Award for the 2016 football season, the honor’s committee announced Thursday.
Last season, Fuller was the starting center in all 13 games as a junior and earned All-Big 12 honors. He anchored an offensive line that paved the way for the nation’s No. 2-ranked rushing offense (326.7 ypg) and led the Big 12 with 1.15 average sacks allowed. The Wylie, Texas, product averaged an 88.9 percent coaches grade and totaled 51 knockdowns on the season. Fuller has also garnered a place on the Rimington Trophy, Outland Trophy and Senior Bowl watch lists in 2016.
Linwood was the starting running back for the Bears in the first 12 games of the 2015 season, before missing the bowl game due to injury. In his junior campaign, Linwood totaled 1,329 yards and 10 TDs on 196 carries and added 71 yards and a TD on nine receptions. He earned second-team All-Big 12 honors and ranked seventh nationally and second in the Big 12 with 6.78 yards per carry. The Linden, Texas, native was also ranked 20th nationally and fourth in the conference with 110.8 yards per game. The senior running back has already been on the Doak Walker Award, Maxwell Award, Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award and the Senior Bowl watch lists this fall.
Last season, Russell was the starting quarterback for BU through the first seven games before suffering a season-ending injury. Russell racked up 2,104 yards, 29 TDs and six picks on 119-200 passing and 402 yards and six TDs on 49 rushes. He was named honorable mention All-Big 12 by the league coaches and a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Award. The product of Garland, Texas, broke the single-season school record with 10.06 total offense yards per play. The honor adds to the senior QB's long list of preseason accolades that includes being named to watch lists for the Maxwell Award, Wuerffel Trophy, Davey O’Brien Award, Walter Camp Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Manning Award, Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award and the Senior Bowl this fall.
Young, the starting weakside linebacker in 12 of 13 games in 2015, was named honorable mention All-Big 12 by the league coaches in his sophomore season. He totaled 80 tackles (60 solo, 13.5 for a loss of 38 yards), four sacks (-19 yards), two QB hurries, one PBU and one fumble recovery last season. Young averaged 1.12 tackles for loss per game, which ranked tied for sixth in the Big 12 and his 6.7 tackles per game average ranked 15th in the conference. The DeSoto, Texas, product previously was named to the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Butkus Award watch lists this fall.
The starting list of 158 candidates for the Rotary Lombardi Award are players who demonstrate outstanding performance and skill in offensive or defensive positions and best exemplify the discipline, virtue and wisdom that defined Vincent Lombardi's exceptional brand of leadership. The players gained a position on the preliminary watch list by earning All-American honors, being named to their respective all-conference teams, or by receiving 2016 pre-season honors.
The Rotary Lombardi Award began in 1970 by the Rotary Club of Houston to honor NFL coach Vince Lombardi and to recognize outstanding college football lineman. The award began as recognition to only interior line positions that Vince Lombardi played while an undergraduate at Fordham University (offensive and defensive guard), and later expanded to include linebackers and tight ends, with the addition of including non-performance values: leadership, courage, desire, respect for authority, and discipline.
The 47th Annual Rotary Lombardi Award continues the evolvement of the Lombardi legacy by now expanding the eligibility of the award to all player positions that are outstanding performers and exhibit great leadership attributes. Following the preliminary watch list, a nomination period will open to the internal selection committee to add additional players who meet the skill and leadership standards set forth for the Rotary Lombardi Award.
The award ceremony date will be announced later in the football season along with updated lists of award candidates.