The following is a press release from Alabama Athletics.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama football had six total players selected to the Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List, the Rotary Club of Houston announced on Thursday morning.
The list of Crimson Tide players includes Will Anderson Jr., Emil Ekiyor Jr., Christian Harris, Phidarian Mathis, Evan Neal and Henry To’oTo’o. The six players are among 80 student-athletes from across the country on the watch list for the Lombardi which is presented annually to the college football offensive or defensive lineman who, in addition to outstanding performance and ability, best exemplifies the character and discipline of NFL Hall of Famer Vince Lombardi. Alabama has had two Lombardi winners in program history including Cornelius Bennett (1986) and Jonathan Allen (2016).
WILL ANDERSON JR.
- An elite edge defender who made his presence known across college football in 2020
- Returns for his second season with the Crimson Tide after being selected as the Shaun Alexander-FWAA Freshman of the Year and earning multiple Freshman All-America honors a season ago
- Started every game as a freshman, totaling 52 tackles including 10.5 for loss (-52 yards) and seven sacks (-39 yards), to go with a forced fumble and team-high eight quarterback hurries
- Ranked third in the SEC in sacks and tackles for loss at season’s end
- Applied 60 pressures (according to Pro Football Focus) through his 13 starts to lead the nation and more than double the next-closest freshman defender
EMIL EKIYOR JR.
Offensive Lineman, Redshirt Junior
- Won the starting job at right guard as a sophomore and started in all 13 games for the Crimson Tide last season
- Played 835 snaps in 2020, missing only one assignment and committing just one penalty
- Earned time in eight games of the 2019 campaign, working as a reserve guard
- Played in four contests as a true freshman and split time between guard and center
- Came to Tuscaloosa as the No. 1-rated player in Indiana and one of the nation’s top center/guard combos in his recruiting class
- Looking to etch his name on the Tide’s list of standout linebackers now in his junior season
- Earned Freshman All-America honors in 2019 and retained his starting role in 2020, finishing second on the Tide defense in tackles with 79
- Totaled seven tackles for loss (-31 yards) and 4.5 sacks (-28 yards) while adding six quarterback hurries, two pass breakups and an interception in 2020
- Selected to the Freshman All-SEC Team to go with his Freshman All-America honors in 2019 after playing in all 13 games with 12 starts
- Led the SEC’s first-year defenders in tackles for loss at 7.5 (-14 yards) as part of his 63 tackles that finished seventh among the league’s freshmen
Defensive Lineman, Redshirt Senior
- One of the leaders on the Tide defense who has played in 40 career contests with eight starts to his name entering the 2021 campaign
- Put together a standout junior season, totaling 31 tackles with five for loss (-10 yards) and 1.5 sacks (-6 yards)
- Added three quarterback pressures, three pass breakups and one forced fumble to his 2020 totals
- Racked up 27 tackles, including half a stop for loss, to go with two quarterback hurries and a forced fumble across his 12 games of action and two starts as a sophomore
- Played in all 15 games as a freshman, recording 18 tackles and a fumble recovery on his way to SEC All-Freshman Team honors in 2018
Offensive Lineman, Junior
- Has proven to be one of the Tide’s top lineman from day one, starting every game since stepping foot on campus in 2019
- Started at right tackle as a sophomore after beginning his career at left guard
- Played 810 snaps with just six missed assignments and three penalties a season ago
- Credited with 1.5 sacks allowed while surrendering just four quarterback hurries and three pressures in 2020
- Totaled 13 starts in his first season on the way to Freshman All-America accolades from multiple outlets to go with a spot on the Freshman All-SEC Team
- A transfer from Tennessee who looks to earn a starting spot in the middle of the Tide defense in 2021
- Excelled in his two seasons in Knoxville, playing in 23 games with 22 starts
- Led the Vols in tackles as a sophomore with 76, including 10 for loss (-25 yards) and one sack (-4 yards), while adding one interception to go with a pair of quarterback hurries and pass breakups
- Made an impact in his first collegiate season, earning Freshman All-America recognition from multiple outlets thanks to his 72 tackles which ranked second among SEC freshmen and fourth across all Division I rookies
- Signed with UT as a top-50 recruit and one of the top linebacker prospects in the country
The Lombardi Award has been presented annually since 1970 and was established by the Rotary Club of Houston following Coach Vince Lombardi’s death. The net proceeds from the award’s activities are contributed to Cancer Research and specifically the American Cancer Society’s programs. Four finalists for the 2021 Lombardi Award will be announced on Nov. 9 with the winner being named at an award ceremony in Houston, Texas, on Dec. 8.
Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaFTBL on Twitter and Facebook and AlabamaFBL on Instagram. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.