(July 14, 2014) Baylor players Spencer Drango, Bryce Hager and Shawn Oakman were named to the 2014 Rotary Lombardi Award watch list, the award’s committee announced Monday.
The Rotary Lombardi 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.
Drango, a junior offensive tackle, was a consensus All-Big 12 first-team honoree in 2013 despite missing the last four games of the season due to a back injury. Before the injury, he served as a leader for Baylor’s offensive line that helped the Bear offense rank No. 1 nationally in total yards (618.8 ypg) and scoring (NCAA-record 52.4 ppg). In his sophomore campaign, Drango averaged a team-high 89.2 percent coaches’ grade and totaled 43 knockdowns. Last week, he was also named to the Outland Trophy watch list, recognizing the nation’s best interior lineman.
Hager, a senior linebacker, is a two-time All-Big 12 honoree with 35 career games played and 19 career starts. In 2013, he played only nine games before suffering a season-ending injury. The Austin product still managed 71 tackles (46 solo, 2.5 for loss), one sack, 10 hurries, three breakups, one fumble recovery and one return TD. He led the Big 12 in tackles in 2012 with 9.5 per game. Hager has already been recognized on watch list for the Butkus Award (linebackers), Nagurski Trophy (defensive players) and Bednarik Award (defensive players).
Oakman, a junior defensive end, earned All-Big 12 accolades last season while serving as a reserve in all 13 games. He totaled 33 tackles (21 solo), 12.5 tackles-for-loss of 32 yards, two sacks (-10 yards), two QB hurries, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick on the season. The former Penn State transfer is listed as a starter for 2014. This is the third watch list honor for Oakman as he was selected last week for Nagurski Trophy (defensive players) and Bednarik Award (defensive players).
The full Rotary Lombardi watch list includes 123 athletes from 76 universities. Last season, Hager and offensive lineman Cyril Richardson represented BU on the watch list.
This year’s candidates earned a place on the preliminary watch list by earning All-American honors, being named to their respective all-conference teams or receiving 2014 preseason honors. The Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List will be updated prior to the start of the 2014 season in order to identify other players who have received significant preseason honors.
While the watch list highlights those players who have already received national recognition, any Division I player who meets the requirements is eligible for consideration from the Rotary Lombardi selection committee. This committee is comprised of more than 300 members, including all past winners and finalists, all Division I head coaches and a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.
The Rotary Lombardi Watch List, intended as a reference tool for the selection committee, will be periodically updated and revised through the conclusion of the voting to determine the 12 semifinalists for 2014.
The 45th Rotary Lombardi Award will be presented on Dec. 10 at the Bayou Music Center in Houston, Texas.
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