Adding to the growing number of preseason watch lists for postseason college awards, 15 offensive and defensive linemen from seven different Big 12 schools are on the early candidate list for the coveted Lombardi Award.
Oklahoma and Texas A&M lead the Big 12 candidate list with three players each vying for the award, given to the nation's top lineman. Both offensive and defensive linemen are eligible, but only interior linemen are considered for the Lombardi Award. Missouri, Iowa State, Texas and Oklahoma State each have a pair of linemen who are on the Lombardi watch list, and one of the Big 12 candidates is from Texas Tech.
The three Sooner interior linemen who are under consideration are center Ben Habern, guard Stephen Good and linebacker Travis Lewis. Representing Texas A&M are defensive lineman Tony Jerod-Eddie, offensive tackle Luke Joeckel and linebacker Garrick Williams.
The other Big 12 players who made the extensive Lombardi list of candidates are Iowa State linebacker Jake Knott and offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele, defensive linemen Brad Madison and Jacquies Smith from Missouri, offensive tackle Levy Adcock and linebacker Shaun Lewis of Oklahoma State and Texas defensive lineman Kheeson Randall and linebacker Keenan Robinson. Also on the watch list is Lonnie Edwards, a guard for Texas Tech.
Eligibility requirements for the Lombardi Award is limited to both offensive and defensive lineman who line up end to end and set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, and linebackers who set up no farther than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage.
Candidates are selected for the watch list on the basis of earning All-America honors last season, by being named to their respective all-conference first team, as selected by the league coaches, by being projected as a preseason All-American or first-team all-conference player for the coming season, or by nomination approved by the Lombardi nominations committee.
Because the original list of candidates is so large, there are periodic updates during the season to get down to 12 semifinalists for the award. The 42nd Lombardi Award winner will be announced during a special weekend festivities Dec. 6-7 at Reliant Center in Houston.