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Florida State's Bradham, Jenkins, and Datko Named to Lombardi Watch List

Three Seminoles, Nigel Bradham, Brandon Jenkins, and Andrew Datko, are among those named to the just released watch list for the Rotary Lombardi Award.  They are among the seven Seminoles' who have already been named to these ever growing pre-season watch lists.

While these lists are somewhat meaningless at this time of year, the fact that many more FSU players are making these watch lists, as compared to the recent past, is a tribute to the higher quality of recruits the coaching staff has been bringing in as of late, and the better coaching they are receiving once they arrive on campus.

Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense of defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, and linebackers who set up no father than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage. 

The candidates earned a place on the Official Watch List by earning All-American honors last season, by being named to their respective all-conference first team last season as selected by the conference’s head coaches, by being projected to be an All-American or first team all-conference player for the coming season, or by nomination approved by the nominations committee. 

Representing Florida State on the Rotary Lombardi Watch List are:

Senior linebacker Nigel Bradham, who has led the Noles in tackles for the past two seasons.

Senior offensive tackle Andrew Datko, who has only missed 3 starts during his four years as a starter.

Junior defensive end Brandon Jenkins, who finished tied for third in the nation and second in the ACC with 13.5 sacks, and was named 1st Team All-ACC last season. 

The ACC is well represented with 19 players on the Rotary Lombardi watch list.

As of today, seven Seminoles' names have already appeared on watch list for six different awards. They are Dustin Hopkins, Greg Reid, Xavier Rhodes, Brandon Jenkins, Andrew Datko, Nigel Bradham, and EJ Manuel.

In fact, Nigel Bradham and Brandon Jenkins are now on three of the nation's top defensive awards watch lists, the Lombardi, Bednarik, and Nagurski.  Meanwhile, Rhodes is on two of the same top defensive awards watch lists, the Bednarik and Nagurski.

A senior linebacker, Bradham is one of four `Noles to make the Bednarik Award list of 65 preseason candidates for the trophy presented to the nation's most outstanding defensive player by the Maxwell Football club. He is also one of 82 players named to the list of Nagurski candidates, who are also contending for the nation's most outstanding defensive player award presented by the Charlotte Touchdown Club. Entering his third year as a starter, the Crawfordville, Fla. native has led the team in tackles each of the last two seasons. In 2010 he set new career-highs for tackles (98), passes defended (5) and sacks (5), while matching his previous best in tackles for loss (5.5).

Jenkins, a junior defensive end, burst on the scene last year with one of the top seasons in FSU football history. With 13.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss, the Tallahassee native ranked third and tied for fourth, respectively, in the two categories. His tackles for loss were the third-most in Seminole history, while his sack total tied for the fifth-best season. Not surprisingly, the 2010 first-team All-ACC selection, is a consensus preseason All-American candidate.

The same is true for Rhodes, a sophomore cornerback from Miami, who claimed ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2010. A 14-game starter, he was a consensus Freshman All-American after recording 12 pass break-ups and four interceptions, which was good for a share of the team lead. A second-team All-ACC selection, Rhodes registered 58 tackles (49 solo), two sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss and recovered two fumbles for the 10-4 Seminoles.

Fellow cornerback Greg Reid also made the watch list for the Bednarik Award after compiling a season full of big plays. A first-year starter as a sophomore in 2010, Reid led the `Noles with 14 pass break-ups, forced three fumbles and swiped three interceptions. An honorable mention All-ACC selection, he also registered a career-high 65 tackles, including three tackles for loss. A Valdosta, Ga. native, Reid capped his season by claiming Chick-fil-A Bowl Defensive MVP honors at the Georgia Dome after forcing two fumbles, breaking up four passes and registering five tackles in FSU's 27-16 win over South Carolina.

Redshirt junior quarterback EJ Manuel, who has posted a 4-2 record as a starter over the past two seasons, is one of 66 players initially identified as a candidate for the prestigious Maxwell Award. The award goes to the nation's most outstanding all-around player and is presented by the Maxwell Football Club. Manuel, who takes over the reins from Christian Ponder, passed for 861 yards and ran for 170 more in 10 games during the 2010 season. The Virginia Beach, Va. native led the Seminoles to a pivotal regular season win over Clemson and threw for a career-high 288 yards against Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game, while starting in Ponder's absence. His game management and mobility were instrumental in directing the `Noles past South Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Bowl after Ponder suffered a first half injury. Manuel secured the 26-17 victory with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Taiwan Easterling with 6:22 remaining.

Senior offensive tackle Andrew Datko enters his final year as a fourth-season starting left tackle for the Seminoles. The former Freshman All-American from Weston, Fla. has anchored that spot with precision pass blocking, while developing into an outstanding edge blocker, worthy of candidacy for the Outland Award, presented to the nation's most outstanding interior lineman by the Football Writers Association of America. Despite missing three games due to injury in 2010, Datko posted the Seminoles' second-highest grade among linemen at 87 percent, trailing only Rodney Hudson, who was an Outland Trophy finalist. He relinquished only one sack, was penalized just three times and had only five missed assignments in 691 snaps.

Dustin Hopkins was a semifinalist for the 2010 Lou Groza Award, presented to the nation's most outstanding place-kicker by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. Not surprisingly, he was one of 30 players selected to the Groza Watch List in 2011. A junior from Houston, Texas, he converted 22 of 28 field goal attempts and led the Atlantic Coast Conference with 119 points, which was also the third highest scoring season in FSU history. He enters the year working on a streak of 86 consecutive successful point-after conversions. Hopkins' sophomore campaign was highlighted by his 55-yard field goal to beat Clemson as time expired, and capped by his 14-point performance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, when he matched an FSU bowl record with four field goals.

While the Lombardi Watch List highlights those players who have already received national recognition, any Division IA player who meets the above requirements is eligible for consideration from the Rotary Lombardi Award Selection Committee. This committee is comprised of more than 500 members, including all past winners and finalists, all Division IA head coaches, and a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.

The Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List, intended as a reference tool for the Selection Committee, will be periodically updated and revised up to the first round of voting to determine the 12 Semifinalists for 2011.

Last year’s Rotary Lombardi Award winner, Nick Fairley (Auburn), was drafted by the Detroit Lions and Finalist Adrian Clayborn (Iowa) was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, both in the first round of the National Football League draft.

Here is the complete watch list for the 42nd Rotary Lombardi Award, which will be presented on December 6-7, 2011 at Reliant Center in Houston, Texas.

Player Pos School Player Highlights
Mike Adams OT Ohio St. 1st Team All-Big 10, started all 13 games in 2010
Levy Adcock OT Oklahoma St. 1st Team All-Big 12, 13 starts at tackle in 2010
Jeff Allen OT Illinois 2nd Team All-Big 10, 34 consecutive starts
Alvin Bailey G Arkansas All-SEC freshman team in 2010, started 13 games
Don Barclay OT W. Virginia 2nd Team All-Big East honors in 2010
Kelvin Beachum OT SMU 1st Team All-CUSA, started all 39 games in his career
Jake Bequette DE Arkansas 2nd Team All-SEC, led team with seven sacks in 2010
Nigel Bradham LB Florida St. Led the Seminoles in tackles for the past two seasons
Mike Brewster C Ohio St. 1st Team All-Big 10, 3 year starter for the Buckeyes
Tanner Brock LB TCU 1st Team All-MWC, led team in tackles with 106
Jaymes Brooks G Va. Tech 2nd Team All-ACC honors in 2010
Austin Brown DT Miami 2nd Team All-MAC, 27 solos, 10 tackles for loss (TFLs)
Vince Browne DE Northwestern 2nd Team All-Big 10, led team with 7 sacks in 2010
Vontaze Burfict LB Arizona St. 2nd Team All-Pac 10, led ASU with 90 tackles
Ben Burkett C Northwestern Rimington Award watch list for 3rd straight year
Miles Burris LB San Diego St. 1st Team All-MWC, led team with 80 tackles, 9.5 sacks
Thomas Byrd C Boise St. 1st Team All-WAC, started 27 games in ’09 and ‘10
Tank Carder LB TCU 1st Team All-MWC, 2011 Rose Bowl Defensive MVP
Audie Cole LB NC St. Led team in tackles in '09, 3rd on team with 86 in '10
Jonathan Cooper G N. Carolina 2nd Team All-ACC, 22 consecutive starts
Quinton Coples DT N. Carolina 1st Team All-ACC, 3rd in the ACC with 10 sacks
Jared Crick DT Nebraska 1st Team All-Big 12, RLA semi-finalist & 2nd team A-A
Vinny Curry DE Marshall 1st Team All-CUSA, 5th in the nation with 12 sacks
Andrew Datko OT Florida St. Four year starter, only missed three starts in career
Lavonte David LB Nebraska 2nd Team AP A-A, 1st Team All-Big 12
Ja'Gared Davis LB SMU 1st Team All-CUSA, led team with 8 sacks and 15 TFLs
Demario Davis LB Arkansas St. 1st Team All-Sun Belt, 63 tackles, 3.5 TFLs
David DeCastro G Stanford 1st Team All-Pac 10, anchors OL that gave up 13 sacks
Blake DeChristopher OT Va. Tech 2nd Team All-ACC, has made 37 career starts
Joe Duhon G So. Miss. Honorable Men. All-CUSA, started 9 games in 2010
Lonnie Edwards G Texas Tech 1st Team All-Big 12, played in 13 games in 2010
Joe Flading OT Ohio 1st Team All-MAC, led team with 62 pancake blocks
Joel Foreman G Michigan St. Honorable Men. All-Big 10, 36 career starts at guard
Marcus Forston DT Miami Rebounded from injury in 2009 with 12 TFLs
Jerry Franklin LB Arkansas 2nd Team All-SEC, led the team with 95 tackles in 2010
Dalton Freeman C Clemson 22 consecutive starts at center, allowed only 2 sacks
Cordy Glenn G/T Georgia Started 36 games at guard over the last 3 years
Stephen Good G Oklahoma Recorded 81 knockdowns on 500 snaps last year
Ben Habern C Oklahoma Honorable Men. All-Big 12, 14 starts at center
Logan Harrell DT Fresno St. 1st Team All-WAC, led team with 10.5 sacks (14 TFLs)
Dont’a Hightower LB Alabama 2nd Team All-SEC in 2010, 69 tackles
Alex Hoffman G Cincinnati 2nd Team All-Big East, started all 13 games
Jaye Howard DT Florida Played in 31 games, 66 career tackles and 15.5 TFLs
Bruce Irvin DE W. Virginia 2nd Team All-Big East, 2nd in nation with 14 sacks
Malik Jackson DE/DT Tennessee 2nd Team All-SEC, led Vols with 11 TFLs and 5 sacks
Brandon Jenkins DE Florida St. 1st Team All-ACC, led the ACC with 13.5 sacks
Tony Jerod-Eddie DL Texas A&M Played in all games since arrival in Aggieland
Luke Joeckel OT Texas A&M Freshman A-A, started all 13 games
Cam Johnson DT Virginia 3rd Team All-ACC, 53 tackles, 14.5 TFLs, 6.5 sacks
Chandler Jones DE Syracuse 2nd Team All-Big East, four sacks and 9.5 TFLs
Barrett Jones G Alabama 2nd Team All-SEC, 24 career starts at guard
Ben Jones C Georgia 4th Team All-SEC, started 12 games in 2010
Matt Kalil OT USC 13 career starts at left tackle for USC
Mychal Kendricks LB Cal. 2nd Team All-PAC 10, 8.5 sacks, 15 TFLs, 3 fumbles
Jake Knott LB Iowa St. 2nd Team All-Big 12, 2nd in the Big 12 with 130 tackles
Peter Konz C Wisconsin Honorable Men. All-Big 10, started 11 games
Luke Kuechly LB Boston College 1st Team A-A and All-ACC, led nation in tackles
Shaun Lewis LB Oklahoma St. Big 12 co-Freshman Defensive Player of the Year
Travis Lewis LB Oklahoma 2nd Team All-Big 12, led the Sooners with 109 tackles
Brandon Lindsey DE Pittsburgh 2nd Team All-Big East, led Panthers with 10 sacks
Trent Mackey LB Tulane 2nd Team All-CUSA, led Green Wave with 124 tackles
Brad Madison DL Missouri 2nd Team All-Big 12, 11 TFLs, 7.5 sacks
Jonathan Martin OT Stanford 1st Team All-Pac 10, has 24 career starts for the Cardinal
Mike Martin DT Michigan 2nd team All-Big 10, six TFLs in 2010
Chris Marve LB Vanderbilt 2nd Team All-SEC, led team with eight TFLs
Jonathan Massaquoi DE Troy 1st Team All-Sun Belt, 4th in the nation with 13.5 sacks
Matt McCants OT UAB 1st Team All-CUSA, 31 career starts
Shea McClellin DE Boise St. 1st Team All-WAC, led Broncos with 9.5 sacks
Marcus McGraw LB Houston 2nd Team All-CUSA, 156 tackles, 75 solo tackles
Cameron Meredith DE Nebraska 2nd Team All-Big 12 in 2010, 64 tackles
Carmen Messina LB New Mexico 2nd Team All-MWC, 1st in the MWC with 115 tackles
Ryan Miller G Colorado Honorable Men. All-Big 12, 35 career starts in Big 12
Julian Miller DT W. Virginia Tied for team lead with 14 TFLs
David Molk C Michigan 1st Team All-Big 10, started 13 games after 2009 injury
Roosevelt Nix DE Kent St. 1st Team All-MAC, 20 TFLs and nine sacks
Trevor Olson OT N. Illinois 1st Team All-MAC, NIU's Offensive lineman of the Year
Kelechi Osemele OT Iowa St. Honorable Men. All-Big 12 ('10), 2nd Team Big 12 ('09)
Donte Paige-Moss DE N. Carolina 2nd on the team with 7 sacks and 13.5 TFLs
Corey Paredes LB Hawaii 1st Team All-WAC, 14th in the nation with 151 tackles
Nick Perry DE USC 12 career sacks in 10 starts, 7.5 TFLs, 25 tackles
Moe Petrus C U Conn 2nd Team All-Big East, 39 career starts
Nate Potter OT Boise St. 3rd Team AP A-A, 1st team All-WAC (2nd straight year)
Tydreke Powell DT N. Carolina Captain as a junior, finished the season with 47 tackles
Sean Progar DE N. Illinois 1st Team All-MAC, 10 TFLs and four sacks
Kheeson Randall DL Texas Honorable Men. All-Big 12, 22 starts, 16 TFLs
Taylor Reed LB SMU Led SMU with 145 tackles, finished 16th in the nation
Riley Reiff OT Iowa 2nd Team All-Big 10 honors, 21 consecutive starts
Kendall Reyes DE U Conn 1st Team All-Big East, 10 TFLs
Matt Reynolds OT BYU 2x 1st Team All-MWC selection, 39 career starts
Travian Robertson DT S. Carolina 14 starts, finished the season with 10 TFLs
Keenan Robinson LB Texas Honorable Men. All-Big 12, led in tackles with 106
Adrian Robinson DE Temple 1st Team All-MAC, 3.5 sacks for the Owls in 2010
Mike Ryan OT U Conn 1st Team All-Big East, 12 starts at right & left tackle
Quentin Saulsberry G/C Miss. St. 37 career starts at tackle, center and guard
JK Schaffer LB Cincinnati 2nd Team All-Big East, two straight 100+ tackle seasons
Mitchell Schwartz OT Cal 2nd Team All-Pac 10, fixture for Cal's OL, 38 starts
Mychall Sisson LB Colorado St. 2nd Team All-MWC in 2010, 38.5 career TFLs
Shayne Skov LB Stanford Honorable Men. All-Pac 10, led team with 84 stops
Jacquies Smith DE Missouri 2nd Team All-Big 12, 5.5 sacks in 2010
Bradley Sowell OT Ole Miss 2nd Team All-SEC, started 24 of last 25 games
Sean Spence LB Miami 2nd Team All-ACC, 111 tackles in 2010
Andrew Sweat LB Ohio St. 41 tackles in 2010, 1 interception
Alameda Ta'amu DT Washington Honorable Men. All-Pac 10, five TFLs in 2010
Bruce Taylor LB Virginia Tech 2nd Team All-ACC, 15.5 TFLs, 91 total stops
Devin Taylor DE South Carolina 1st Team All-SEC, led the Gamecocks with 13 TFLs
Manti Te'o LB Notre Dame 21 tackles against Stanford, 133 tackles in 2010
Taylor Thompson DE SMU 1st Team All-CUSA, 2nd on team with 5.5 sacks
Chris Thompson C Houston 1st Team All-CUSA, 37 starts at G and T, moved to C
Danny Trevathan LB Kentucky 1st Team All-SEC, led the SEC with 144 tackles
Jabaree Tuani DE Navy Led the Midshipmen with 15.5 TFLs in 2010
Courtney Upshaw DE/LB Alabama Led the Crimson Tide with 7 sacks and 14.5 TFLs
Joe Vellano DT Maryland 2nd Team All-ACC, 10.5 TFLs
William Vlachos C Alabama 2nd Team All-SEC, started 27 straight games at center
Bobby Wagner LB Utah St. 1st Team All-WAC, 7th in nation with 133 tackles
Chaz Walker LB Utah 2nd Team All-MWC, 74 tackles in 2010
Larry Warford G Kentucky 2nd Team All-SEC, started all 13 games at right guard
Brandon Washington G Miami 1st Team All-ACC, leader of experienced line in Miami
Scott Wedige C N. Illinois 1st Team All-MAC, started all 13 games in 2010
Sean Westgate LB UCLA Honorable Men. All-PAC 10, 90 tackles, 11 TFLs
Garrick Williams LB Texas A&M Honorable Men. All-Big 12, 112 tackles in 2010
Korey Williams LB So. Miss Led So. Miss in tackles with 92 and TFLs with 14.5
Billy Winn DT Boise St. 2x 2nd Team All-WAC, 9.5 TFLs in 2010
Jerel Worthy DT Michigan St. 26 career games, 77 tackles, 17 TFLs, 8.5 sacks
Carson York G Oregon Honorable Men. All-Pac 10, started all 13 games at G
Kevin Zeitler G Wisconsin Honorable Men. All-Big 10, played in all 13 games

Sources:  The 2011 Official Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List Released and the Florida State University Sports Information Department.