Nov. 15, 2016
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Rotary Lombardi Award committee via the Rotary Club of Houston announced today the top 20 nominations for the Rotary Lombardi Award. Among the nominees are a pair of Buckeye co-captains in junior quarterback J.T. Barrett and senior center Pat Elflein.
Since 1970 the Lombardi Award has been presented to the nation’s top college football lineman. In 2016, eligibility has advanced to include all player positions 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 Top 20 selection includes a variety of player positions including four quarterbacks, five offense and 11 traditional defensive positions.
Barrett, also a semifinalist for the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien awards, leads the Big Ten with 23 touchdown passes and with a passer rating of 151.8. He also is second in the Big Ten with 283.5 yards of total offense per game. Barrett threw for a career-high 349 yards and tied his school record with six TD passes in the 77-10 season-opening win over Bowling Green, setting an Ohio State record with seven TDs accounted for (6 passing, 1 rushing) in the process and helping the Buckeyes set a school record with 776 yards of total offense. Two weeks later, he tossed four TD passes – all to Noah Brown – in the win at No. 14 Oklahoma. The very next week, he tossed another four TD passes on 21-of-29 passing for 238 yards while rushing for 46 yards in just over three quarters of play vs. Rutgers. The Wichita Falls, Texas, native rushed for a season-high 137 yards and a score in the win over Indiana before totaling 318 total yards (92 rush, 226 pass) in the overtime win at No. 8 Wisconsin.
Barrett has accounted for 98 career touchdowns (rushing and passing) and needs eight more to tie Drew Brees’ Big Ten record of 106.
Elflein, one of the nation’s top centers, has started every game for the Buckeyes at center this season, moving over from his starting guard position the past two seasons. He is the anchor of an offensive line that has helped Ohio State lead the Big Ten in total offense this season (511.4) while racking up more than 2,600 yards and 29 touchdowns on the ground. A native of Pickerington, Ohio, Elflein was named one of the team’s captains for the 2016 season in January.
Players earned a position on the preliminary watch list by receiving All-American honors, being named to their respective all-conference teams, or by receiving 2016 pre-season honors. The Top 20 nominations was narrowed by votes from an electorate made up of head coaches from all FCAA FBS winners and finalists, as well as, sports journalists and members of the Football Writers Association of America. Currently there are approximately 400 voters.
The award ceremony, that will be broadcast nationally, will be held in Houston Saturday, February 11, 2017.
Net proceeds from the Rotary Lombardi Award activities are contributed to cancer research and children who cannot afford treatment to fight the disease that claimed the life of Vince Lombardi. The Rotary Lombardi Award is hosted by the Rotary Club of Houston and benefits the American Cancer Society, MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Texas Children’s Hospital.
The award ceremony date will be announced later in the football season along with updated lists of award candidates. Visit www.rotarylombardiaward.org for more information and continued updates.