The Lombardi Award has quite an interesting recent history. Given to the college football lineman who best embodies the late great Vince Lombardi, the award was extended to all positions from 2017 to 2020. The award returned to its original eligibility in 2021, with Notre Dame taking advantage in 2022. That’s because four Irish players have been named to the watch list for the prize.
The winner is not only the best player in his position, but also best reflects Lombardi’s character. The Irish are no doubt delighted to enter the season with four chances to bag the sixth Lombardi Award in program history. Manti Te’o was the last winner of the Irish in 2012, so they are definitely overdue for a new one.
The prize can be awarded to a lineman on either side of the ball, and since tight ends can also be blockers, they are also eligible for the prize. Keep that in mind as we look at the Irish players on the list:
ARLINGTON, TEXAS – JANUARY 01: Jayson Ademilola #57 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish reacts against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the second quarter of the 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal Game in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One at the AT&T Stadium on 1 January , 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Started all 13 games in 2021 while registering 49 tackles and eight tackles for losses.
Notre Dame defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey (7) during an NCAA football game against Purdue on Saturday, September 18, 2021 in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
Foskey led the Irish with 11 sacks in 2021.
GLENDALE, ARIZONA – JANUARY 1: Michael Mayer #87 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates after scoring a second quarter touchdown against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium on January 01, 2022 in Glendale , Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Mayer is also on the waiting lists for the Maxwell Award, Mackey Award, Biletnikoff Award and Walter Camp Award.
Notre Dame offensive lineman Jarrett Patterson (55) plays against Navy in the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Patterson is also on the waiting lists for the Rimington Award and Outland Trophy.
The story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire