FINALISTS ANNOUNCED: These 4 elite college football players will compete for the 2021 Rotary Lombardi Award

(AP Images)

Houston – The 2021 Rotary Lombardi Award® finalists were announced Tuesday afternoon in Houston. The four college players were revealed by the Rotary Club of Houston and KPRC 2 Sports Director Randy McIlvoy. KPRC 2 is a proud media partner for the 2021 awards.

The annual Rotary Lombardi Award® recognizes 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 Fame Head Coach Vince Lombardi.

The four 2021 finalists are....

Kenyon Green, Texas A&M , Junior, Offensive Line

Currently 6′4″ and 325 lbs, this football star from Humble, Texas was the highest-ranked prospect from the state in 2019. Kenyon Green was an Under Armour & Army All-American. As a freshman at Texas A&M, he won the team’s Offensive Top Newcomer Award. In 2020, he started every game at left guard. That Aggie offensive line led the SEC in sacks allowed (0.7), tackles for loss allowed (3.8), and yards per carry (5.45). Additional recognition includes: consensus All-American, second-team All-SEC member, and team Offensive MVP.

Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan, Senior, Defensive End

Aidan Hutchinson is a senior and two-time captain for Michigan. He played in all 13 games as a freshman in 2018 and then became a starter his sophomore season. That year, he was credited with 68 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, and six pass breakups. He also received Academic All-Big Ten honors. An injury cut his 2020 season short by a few games, but he was able to return in 2021 and continues to be considered one of the best pass rushers in the nation.

Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa, Junior, Center

Tyler Linderbaum came to Iowa in 2018. After a freshman season at defensive tackle, he was switched to center. According to Pro Football Focus, Linderbaum allowed only three QB pressures on 280 pass-blocking snaps. Among his accolades, he was named a Rimington Trophy finalist, PFF first-team All-American, AP first-team All-Big Ten, and Academic All-Big Ten. He was also a preseason first-team All-American by Phil Steele leading up to this year.

Mike Rose, Iowa State, Senior Linebacker

Mike Rose started every game from the linebacker position for the Cyclones in his first season. In 15 games, he was credited with 75 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks. He received Honorable Mention All-Big 12 and First Team Freshman All-American honors by the FWAA and The Athletic. In 2020, he was recognized as the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, first-team All-American (Phil Steele & The Athletic), and first-team All-Big 12. In 2021, Rose is a leader of one of the best defenses in college football.

Rotary Lombardi Award® criteria

Players must have the following qualifications to be eligible for this award:

  • NCAA FBS College Football team member
  • Be a down Lineman, end to end, either on offense or defense, setting up no further than ten (10) yards to the left or right of the ball at the time of the snap
  • OR be a Linebacker on defense, setting up no further than 5 yards deep from the line of scrimmage
  • Must not come out of the offensive backfield and set up on the line of scrimmage as a Blocker or a Receiver or listed in the program as an Offensive Back or Receiver.
  • Be eligible to participate in the current season

Winner selection & Award ceremony

A final round of voting to select the winner will occur between Nov. 14 and Dec. 6. Voters include past winners and nominees, college football coaches, and more than 300 members of sports media.

The winner will be revealed at a dinner and awards presentation on Dec. 8 at the Hilton Americas-Houston.

The 2021 event will feature KPRC 2 Sports Director Randy McIlvoy as the Master of Ceremony. In addition, honorary event chair and famed Green Bay Packer Jerry Kramer will make an appearance. 1987 Rotary Lombardi Award® Winner Chris Spielman is the guest speaker. Robert Unanue, President and CEO of Goya Foods will receive the Rotary Lombardi Humanitarian Award

History of the Rotary Lombardi Award®

The Rotary Club of Houston was authorized by Vince Lombardi’s widow, Marie, to establish the Rotary Lombardi Award® shortly after his death from colon cancer in 1970.

Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi in his college coaching days. Lombardi returned to Fordham University in 1947 to coach the freshman teams in football and basketball. The following year he served as an assistant coach for Fordham's varsity football team. (Photo by Fordham University/Getty Images) (Getty Images Sport)

In the beginning, the award recognized interior line positions. Over the years, it was expanded to include linebackers and tight ends. As Mrs. Lombardi wished, net proceeds from the Award’s activities support cancer research and the American Cancer Society’s programs.

You can watch the official announcement of 2021 Rotary Lombardi finalists here.