The Lombardi Award is awarded by the Lombardi Foundation annually to the best college football player, regardless of position, based on performance, as well as leadership, character, and resiliency. From 1970 until 2016 the award was presented by Rotary International specifically to a lineman or linebacker. The Lombardi Award program was approved by the Rotary International club in Houston in 1970 shortly after the death of famed National Football League coach Vince Lombardi. The committee outlined the criteria for eligibility for the award, which remained in place until 2016: A player should be a down lineman on either offense or defense or a linebacker who lines up no further than five yards deep from the ball.
The voting electorate is made up of the head coaches from all NCAA Division I schools, sports media personnel from across the country, and former winners and finalists of the Lombardi Award. The total number of voters is approximately 500. Ohio State University holds the record for most Lombardi awards with six. Orlando Pace, the only two-time winner (1995 and 1996), is the most recent offensive lineman to be honored.
The main part of the trophy used to be a block of granite, paying homage to Lombardi's college days at Fordham University as an offensive lineman when his offensive line was referred to as the "Seven Blocks of Granite". A new trophy designed by Texas sculptor Edd Hayes replaced the original block of granite.
|Given for||the best college football player|
|Presented by||Lombardi Foundation (since 2017)|
|Most recent||Ugochukwu Amadi, Oregon|
|1970||Jim Stillwagon||Ohio State||Defensive tackle|
|1971||Walt Patulski||Notre Dame||Defensive tackle|
|1972||Rich Glover||Nebraska||Defensive tackle|
|1973||John Hicks||Ohio State||Offensive tackle|
|1974||Randy White||Maryland||Defensive tackle|
|1975||Lee Roy Selmon||Oklahoma||Defensive end|
|1976||Wilson Whitley||Houston||Defensive end|
|1977||Ross Browner||Notre Dame||Defensive end|
|1978||Bruce Clark||Penn State||Defensive tackle|
|1979||Brad Budde||USC||Offensive guard|
|1980||Hugh Green||Pittsburgh||Defensive end|
|1981||Kenneth Sims||Texas||Defensive tackle|
|1983||Dean Steinkuhler||Nebraska||Offensive tackle|
|1984||Tony Degrate||Texas||Defensive tackle|
|1985||Tony Casillas||Oklahoma||Defensive tackle|
|1987||Chris Spielman||Ohio State||Linebacker|
|1988||Tracy Rocker||Auburn||Defensive tackle|
|1989||Percy Snow||Michigan State||Linebacker|
|1990||Chris Zorich||Notre Dame||Defensive tackle|
|1991||Steve Emtman||Washington||Defensive tackle|
|1992||Marvin Jones||Florida State||Linebacker|
|1993||Aaron Taylor||Notre Dame||Offensive tackle|
|1994||Warren Sapp||Miami||Defensive tackle|
|1995||Orlando Pace||Ohio State||Offensive tackle|
|1996||Orlando Pace||Ohio State||Offensive tackle|
|1997||Grant Wistrom||Nebraska||Defensive end|
|1998||Dat Nguyen||Texas A&M||Linebacker|
|1999||Corey Moore||Virginia Tech||Defensive end|
|2000||Jamal Reynolds||Florida State||Defensive tackle|
|2001||Julius Peppers||North Carolina||Defensive end|
|2002||Terrell Suggs||Arizona State||Defensive end|
|2003||Tommie Harris||Oklahoma||Defensive tackle|
|2004||David Pollack||Georgia||Defensive end|
|2005||A. J. Hawk||Ohio State||Linebacker|
|2007||Glenn Dorsey||LSU||Defensive tackle|
|2008||Brian Orakpo||Texas||Defensive end|
|2009||Ndamukong Suh||Nebraska||Defensive tackle|
|2010||Nick Fairley||Auburn||Defensive tackle|
|2011||Luke Kuechly||Boston College||Linebacker|
|2012||Manti Te'o||Notre Dame||Linebacker|
|2013||Aaron Donald||Pittsburgh||Defensive tackle|
|2014||Scooby Wright III||Arizona||Linebacker|
|2015||Carl Nassib||Penn State||Defensive end|
|2016||Jonathan Allen||Alabama||Defensive end|
|2017||Bryce Love||Stanford||Running Back|
The 1976 Houston Cougars football team, also known as the Houston Cougars, Houston, or UH, represented the University of Houston in the 1976 NCAA Division I football season. It was the 31st year of season play for Houston. The team was coached by fifteenth-year head football coach, Bill Yeoman. The team played its home games at the Astrodome, a 53,000-person capacity stadium off-campus in Houston. It was Houston's first year of season play as a full member of the Southwest Conference eligible as champions. Upon winning the conference as co-champions, the Cougars competed against the Maryland Terrapins in the Cotton Bowl Classic, and finished the post-season at an all-time highest national ranking in the history of the program. Senior defensive tackle Wilson Whitley received the Lombardi Award following the season. Future UH and Baylor head coach Art Briles played on this team.1985 Syracuse Orangemen football team
The 1985 Syracuse Orangemen football team represented Syracuse University during the 1985 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team was led by fifth-year head coach Dick MacPherson and played their home games in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse finished with a 7–5 record and played in the 1985 Cherry Bowl against Maryland, where they lost, 18–35.
Notable players included Tim Green, who earned unanimous All-American honors at defensive tackle and was a finalist for the Lombardi Award. Green was drafted 17th overall in the 1986 NFL Draft, ending his career at Syracuse as the school's all-time leader in sacks with 45.5, a record that he still owns.2005 Ohio State Buckeyes football team
The 2005 Ohio State Buckeyes football team represented The Ohio State University in the 2005 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team's head football coach was Jim Tressel. The Buckeyes played their home games in Ohio Stadium. The team finished the season with a win-loss record of 10–2, and a Big Ten Conference record of 7–1. They tied for the Big Ten championship with Penn State.
In 2005, A. J. Hawk was the sixth Ohio State player to receive the Lombardi Award. He was also voted OSU's season MVP for this year and was All-American. All year, Troy Smith and Justin Zwick competed for the spot of starting quarterback.
Early in the season, they played their first ever meeting against the Texas Longhorns of The University of Texas, which they lost, 25–22.To conclude the season, they made an appearance in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl and defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 34–20. They finished the season ranked No. 4 in the nation.A. J. Hawk
Aaron James "A. J." Hawk (born January 6, 1984) is a former American football linebacker who played 11 seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers fifth overall in the 2006 NFL Draft and he would later win Super Bowl XLV with the team over the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was also a member of the Cincinnati Bengals and Atlanta Falcons. He played college football at Ohio State, where he earned All-American honors twice and won the Lombardi Award as a senior.Brad Budde
Brad Edward Budde (born May 9, 1958) is a former American college and professional football player who was an offensive guard in the National Football League (NFL) for seven seasons during the 1980s. Budde played college football for the University of Southern California (USC), and was an All-American and the winner of the Lombardi Award. He was a first-round pick in the 1980 NFL Draft, and played professionally for the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs.Dave Rimington
David Brian Rimington (born May 22, 1960) is a former American college and professional football player who was a center in the National Football League (NFL) for seven seasons during the 1980s. Rimington played college football for the University of Nebraska, where he was two-time consensus All-American and received several awards recognizing him as the best college lineman in the country. He was selected in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft and played professionally for the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL. Rimington is the namesake of the Rimington Trophy, which is awarded annually to the nation's top collegiate center. Rimington was announced as the interim athletic director of Nebraska on September 26, 2017.Dean Steinkuhler
Dean Elmer Steinkuhler (born January 27, 1961) is a former professional American football player who was an offensive lineman in the National Football League (NFL) for eight seasons in the 1980s and 1990s. Steinkuhler played college football for the University of Nebraska, and was recognized as an All-American. He was selected in the first round of the 1984 NFL Draft, and played professionally for the Houston Oilers of the NFL.Ernie Lombardi
Ernesto Natali Lombardi (April 6, 1908 – September 26, 1977), was an American professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a catcher for the Brooklyn Robins, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Braves, and New York Giants during a career that spanned 17 years, from 1931 through 1947. He had several nicknames, including "Schnozz", "Lumbago", "Bocci", "The Cyrano of the Iron Mask" and "Lom". He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986.
Baseball writer Bill James called Lombardi "the slowest man to ever play major league baseball well." The fact that he was so slow spoke to what an outstanding hitter he was. Lombardi was an All-Star for seven seasons, he hit over .300 for ten seasons and finished his major league career with a .306 batting average despite infields playing very deep for the sloth-like baserunner. He is listed at 6'3" and 230 lbs, but he probably approached 300 lbs towards the end of his career. He was also known as a gentle giant, and this made him hugely popular among Cincinnati fans.J. P. Metras Trophy
J. P. Metras Trophy is awarded to the Outstanding Down Lineman in U Sports Football. Initiated in 1974, the Centennial Year of Canadian University Football, the award is in recognition of the achievements of John Pius Metras who, for 30 years as head coach of the University of Western Ontario Mustangs, established a lifetime record of 106 victories, 76 losses and 11 ties, including 9 league championships. The American equivalent to the J.P. Metras Trophy is the Rotary Lombardi Award.Jamal Reynolds
Idris Jamal Reynolds (born February 20, 1979) is an American former college and professional football player who was a defensive end in the National Football League (NFL) for three seasons during the early 2000s. He played college football for Florida State University, and was recognized as a consensus All-American. The Green Bay Packers chose him in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft.Jim Stillwagon
James R. Stillwagon (February 11, 1949 – February 4, 2018) was an All-Star American college football player and Canadian Football League player.
Stillwagon was a three-year starter with the Ohio State Buckeyes. He was a consensus All-America selection as a junior and senior, and won the Outland Trophy and was the first-ever winner of the Lombardi Award. He also won the 1970 UPI Lineman of the Year. Stillwagon was one of the so-called Super Sophomores of 1968, guiding the Buckeyes to an undefeated season and a consensus national championship. Stillwagon and the other Super Sophomores finished their college careers with a record of 27-2.
Stillwagon was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the fifth round (124th pick) of the 1971 NFL Draft, but turned north to Canada for a pro career. In five years in the Canadian Football League (1971-1975) with the Toronto Argonauts, Stillwagon was a three time all star. He was runner up for the CFL's Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award in 1972.
Stillwagon was honoured at the September 11, 2009 home game of the Toronto Argonauts as the newest addition to the team's list of All-Time Argos.Moe Gardner
Morris "Moe" Gardner Jr. (born August 10, 1968) is a former American football defensive tackle. He played professionally in the National Football League (NFL) for the Atlanta Falcons (1991–1996). Moe Gardner graduated from Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign where he was a two-time consensus All-American in 1989 and 1990. He was selected as the only active player named to Illinois' All-Century team in 1990 and ranks second in school history in career tackles for loss. He was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year earning the honor in both 1989 and 1990. He was also named as a finalist for both the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award. Gardner was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 1991. 1993 is arguably considered to be his strongest season. That year, he recorded 128 tackles leading the Falcons’ defensive linemen and finishing second overall on the team.Ndamukong Suh
Ndamukong Ngwa Suh ( in-DAH-mə-kin SOO, born January 6, 1987) is an American football nose tackle who is a free agent of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Detroit Lions second overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. He played college football at Nebraska, where he earned All-American honors.
As a college senior, Suh became one of the most decorated players in college football history. He won numerous awards including the Associated Press College Football Player of the Year Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, Lombardi Award, and Outland Trophy, and was recognized as a unanimous All-American.Suh is recognized as one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. In 2015, Suh was named the 24th best player in the NFL, while being the sixth highest ranked defensive player. He has won numerous awards and accolades, having been named the Defensive Rookie of the Year, while being selected to four Pro Bowls in his first five seasons, and having been named an All Pro six times. Four times to the All Pro First team, including his rookie year, and twice to the All Pro Second team. In 2015, Suh became the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, having signed a six-year contract with the Miami Dolphins, worth in excess of $114 million, with nearly $60 million fully guaranteed; he was released after just three seasons. However, Suh has been criticized for his aggressive style of play and lack of sportsmanship. He has been fined eight times through 2014 for a total of $255,375 by the NFL, with seven for player-safety violations, and suspended once (for two games), resulting in the loss of an additional $165,294 in pay.Percy Snow
Percy Lee Snow (born November 5, 1967) is a retired American football linebacker who played at Michigan State University and was a first-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs. Snow made the College Football All-America Team at Michigan State and was voted the player of the game in the 1988 Rose Bowl. He is one of only four players in college football history to win both the Butkus Award and Lombardi Award. On May 7, 2013, Percy Snow was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame Class Of 2013.Phil Steele
Phil Steele (born c. 1960) is an American sportswriter and analyst who focuses exclusively on college and professional football. He is considered a "highly respected prognosticator" within the sports media. His company, Phil Steele Publications, produces the annual preseason magazine Phil Steele's College Football Preview, which he personally writes in almost its entirety. The first edition was published in 1995. In a comparison of the major preseason college football magazines, ESPN writer Pat Forde said:All the mags have their merits . . . But Phil Steele owns the genre . . . The 46-year-old uses a cookie-cutter layout for every team, and his writing will never be nominated for a Pulitzer. But he does author every two-page team preview himself, and he crams stats, facts and figures into every nook and cranny. The magazine was similarly praised by the News & Observer and Rivals.com. Chris Stassen, owner of football.stassen.com, has tracked the preseason magazines' accuracy since 1993 and rates Phil Steele's as the most accurate in its predictions.. Phil is currently a full-time employee of ESPN writing articles for ESPN+ and appearing on SportsCenter. He continues to produce the "Bible of College Football" which is the Phil Steele College Football preview that is now in its 24th year.
Steele has been a member of the All-America, John Mackey Award, Davey O'Brien Award, Lombardi Award, and the Ted Hendricks Award voting committees.Rich Glover
Richard Edward Glover (born February 6, 1950) is a former professional football player, a defensive tackle for the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL. He played college football at Nebraska under head coach Bob Devaney. Glover played high school football at Snyder High School in Jersey City, New Jersey. Glover recalls a time when his coach, Roy Corso, instructed each player to bring a garbage pail cover with them for after the game. When asked why, Corso responded it was for their own protection. Glover admits if it wasn't for those covers, they never would have made it past the losing team throwing rocks at the bus windows on the way out of the parking lot.
In his senior season for the Huskers in 1972, he won the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award; the second of eight Nebraska winners of the Outland Trophy and the first of five Nebraska winners of the Lombardi Award. Nebraska players have won nine Outland Trophys overall, by far the most in the nation. Oklahoma has the second most with four. As the middle guard, he was a key member of the Blackshirts as an underclassman on the 1970 and 1971 undefeated Nebraska teams that won consecutive national championships. The 1972 team was a pre-season #1 but lost their road opener to UCLA and finished 9-2-1, rising to fourth in the final AP poll, buoyed by a third consecutive Orange Bowl victory, 40-6 over Notre Dame.
Rich Glover was the second straight winner of the Outland Trophy from Nebraska, his New York Giant teammate Larry Jacobson won in 1971. He is the first of four Cornhuskers (Dave Rimington, Dean Steinkuhler and Ndamukong Suh), and one of thirteen lineman, to have won both the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award in their careers. Glover also finished third in the 1972 Heisman Trophy voting, won by teammate Johnny Rodgers; he was the only defensive player in the top ten.He was selected to the Nebraska All-Century Football Team and is one of sixteen Cornhuskers to have his jersey (#79) retired. Glover was selected to the College Football Hall Of Fame in 1995.
In 1999 Glover was selected as a starting defensive tackle by Sports Illustrated in their "NCAA Football All-Century Team" alongside other starting defensive tackle Bronko Nagurski. The second and third team defensive tackles were Buck Buchanan, Lee Roy Selmon, Mike Reid and Randy White. Glover was one of six Nebraska Cornhuskers on SI's All-Century Team 85 man roster; the others being Johnny Rodgers, Dave Rimington, Dean Steinkuhler, Tommie Frazier, and Aaron Taylor. Glover, the oldest of the six, was the only Cornhusker defensive player selected.
Following his collegiate career, he was selected by the New York Giants in the third round of the 1973 NFL Draft, the 69th pick overall. He played with the Giants (along with fellow Husker and Outland winner Larry Jacobson) for one season before joining the Shreveport Steamers of the World Football League in 1974. He then joined the Philadelphia Eagles in 1975 before injuries ended his NFL career. He went on to become a teacher and coach in the public school system of San José, California. In 2004, he was part of the New Mexico State football coaching staff.
He is currently the assistant coach at Harrison High School. Previously he was head coach at William L. Dickinson High School in Jersey City, New Jersey.Glover is a graduate of Snyder High School in Jersey City.Seven Blocks of Granite
The Seven Blocks of Granite were the Fordham University football team's offensive line under head coach "Sleepy" Jim Crowley and line coach Frank Leahy. The most famous Seven Blocks of Granite were Leo Paquin, Johnny Druze, Alex Wojciechowicz, Ed Franco, Al Babartsky, Natty Pierce and Vince Lombardi. The nickname was also commonly used to referred to the Fordham lines of the 1929, 1930, and 1937 teams, but it is the 1936 line which is today the best known of these lines.
In the 1930s, Fordham University was a college football power, as they were consistently a nationally ranked team. In 1936, school publicist Timothy Cohane needed a nickname to spur recognition of his Fordham Rams, who were undefeated halfway through the season and on the verge of possibly their best season ever. The strength of the Fordham team was its offensive line of seven men: one center, two guards, two tackles and two ends. In his columns, American sportswriter Grantland Rice had already written "The Fordham Wall Still Stands" in honor of the team and its early season success, but a catchy nickname was still needed—something to rival Notre Dame's famous Four Horsemen. The year before Cohane tried using the "Seven Samsons" to highlight the squad's offensive linemen, but it never caught on. Cohane then tried the "Seven Blocks of Granite".
In its final two games the 1936 team was tied by an inferior University of Georgia team and beaten by a lowly NYU team—ending their hopes of a Rose Bowl appearance. The line was not as good as some of the previous lines at Fordham, or the 1937 team which went 7-0-1. However, the 1936 team and the Seven Blocks of Granite became college football immortals.
Associated with the name, the Rotary Club's Lombardi Award is awarded annually to the best college football lineman or linebacker. The main part of the trophy, awarded to a down lineman on either side of the ball or a linebacker who lines up no further than five yards deep from the ball, is a block of granite, giving homage to Lombardi's college days as a lineman.Tony Casillas
Tony Steven Casillas (born October 26, 1963) is a former American football defensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL) from 1986 through 1997. While at the University of Oklahoma he helped win the 1985 NCAA National Championship. He also won the Lombardi Award in 1985 and was the 1985 UPI Lineman of the Year. Casillas was also part of the Dallas Cowboys back to back victories in Super Bowl XXVII and XXVIII, both against the Buffalo Bills. In 2004, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.Wilson Whitley
Wilson Whitley (May 28, 1955 – October 27, 1992) was a consensus All-American defensive tackle at the University of Houston from 1972-1976 under defensive coordinator Don Todd. He led the Cougars to the Southwest Conference championship in football during Houston's first season as a conference member and won the 1976 Lombardi Award as the nation's top lineman. Former President Gerald Ford presented him the award at a ceremony in Houston, Texas.
Whitley was drafted in the first round by the Cincinnati Bengals and started alongside another Lombardi Award winner, Ross Browner, for 6 seasons. He was later named to the Southwest Conference "All Decade Team" for the 1970s.
Whitley died at the age of 37, due to a heart condition. He is a 1998 inductee into University of Houston's Hall of Honor and was a perennial candidate for the National College Football Hall of Fame until his selection in 2007.
Lombardi Award winners
College football awards
|Overall media awards|
|Other national player awards|
|Head coaching awards|
|Assistant coaching awards|
|Division I FCS awards|
and versatility awards
|Halls of fame|