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College Football Awards 2012: Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List Includes 3 Notre Dame, 3 Illinois Players

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!:

Player Position University Player Highlights
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

For more, stick with SB Nation Chicago. For more on Notre Dame visit One Foot Down and for more on the Big Ten visit Off Tackle Empire. For more news, notes and analysis from around the country, head over to SB Nation's college football news hub.