Seven MW Football Student-Athletes Named to 2012 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List

July 16, 2012

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Seven Mountain West football student-athletes are among the 145 individuals named to the 43rd annual Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List, released today.

Boise State's Joe Kellogg, Colorado State's Weston Richburg, Fresno State's Travis Brown, Nevada's Chris Barker and Jeff Nady, San Diego State's Gavin Escobar and Wyoming's Nick Carlson are among the players selected to the list.

The annual Rotary Lombardi Award honors the top lineman in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Eligibility for the award is limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, or linebackers who set up no farther than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage.

An offensive guard from Scottsdale, Ariz., Kellogg is a three-year starter for the Broncos entering 2012, and has helped Boise State finish ranked first- and third-nationally in sacks allowed the last two seasons, giving up 0.62 per game in 2011 and 2010, respectively. He has also helped lead an offensive unit that has ranked in the top five in scoring offense in each of the last three seasons, finishing first in 2009, second in 2010 and fifth in 2011.

Richburg, a center from Bushland, Texas, started all 12 games for the Rams last season, anchoring a Colorado State offensive line that helped running back Chris Nwoke rush for 1,130 yards, the most by a Ram since 2008. A versatile lineman, Richburg started 10 games at center and two games at tackle in 2011.

Brown, a linebacker from Fresno, Calif., registered 85 tackles last season, including 8.5 for loss. He also tallied three sacks and three pass breakups during his junior campaign.

Hailing from Fontana, Calif., Barker has started all 40 games of his collegiate career at offensive guard for Nevada. Barker was a first-team all-WAC selection last year as a junior after being named to the second team as a sophomore.

Nady, an offensive lineman from Minden, Nev., started all 13 games for the Wolfpack last season on his way to being named a second-team all-WAC selection. In total, Nady has started a combined 23 games over the past two seasons.

Escobar, a tight end from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., tallied 51 catches for 780 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011. His 60.00 receiving yards per game last season were third most in the nation among tight ends.

A center from Arlington Heights, Ill., Carlson earned second-team All-Mountain West honors as a junior in 2011. He led an offensive line that allowed only 12 quarterback sacks in 13 games in 2011 to rank No. 11 in the nation in fewest sacks allowed. Carlson anchored an offensive line that helped Wyoming average 181.6 rushing yards per game to rank No. 33 in the nation.

The candidates earned a place on the official watch list by earning All-American honors last season, by being named to their respective all-conference first team last season as selected by the conference's head coaches, by being projected to be an All-American or first team all-conference player for the coming season, or by nomination approved by the Rotary Lombardi nominations committee.

The Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List will be periodically updated and revised up to the first round of voting to determine the 25 quarterfinalists for 2012. The winner of the 43rd Rotary Lombardi Award will be announced Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 at The Hobby Center in Houston, Texas.

Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly earned the award last season.