The latest college football awards watch list to come out, the 2012 Rotary Lombardi Award, features a number of local athletes. Three players from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish -- all offensive lineman -- and three players from the Illinois Fighting Illini -- all from the defensive side of the ball -- earned a spot on the prestigious watch list.
The Lombardi Award goes annually to the nation's top lineman or linebacker from the preceding NCAA football season. Here is a look at the local entrants for the 2012 award, with highlights courtesy of Yahoo!:
|Jonathan Brown||LB||Illinois||2nd team All-Big 10 (media), honorable mention All-Big 10 (coaches)|
|Michael Buchanan||DE||Illinois||2nd team All-Big 10, finished year with 13.5 tackles for a loss|
|Akeem Spence||DT||Illinois||Nose tackle who is 2nd leading returning tackler for Illini defense|
|Braxston Cave||C||Notre Dame||The foundation of the Irish line, must overcome injuries from 2011|
|Tyler Eifert||TE||Notre Dame||Thought by many to be the clear cut best tight end in the nation|
|Zack Martin||OT||Notre Dame||Voted Notre Dame's outstanding offensive linemen the past two seasons|
|Manti Te'o||LB||Notre Dame||2nd team All-American and preseason All-American candidate for 2012|
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