July 14, 2014
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List was released Monday and the Thundering Herd boasted three representatives -- linebacker Jermaine Holmes and offensive linemen Chris Jasperse and Clint Van Horn.
Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen -- end-to-end, on offense or defense -- who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, or linebackers who set up no farther than 5 yards deep from the line of scrimmage. The candidates earned a place on the preliminary watch list by earning All-American honors, being named to their respective all-conference teams or receiving 2014 preseason honors. The Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List will be updated prior to the start of the 2014 season in order to identify other players who have received significant pre-season honors.
Holmes, also a nominee for the College Football Performance Awards Linebacker Trophy, has been a preseason All-Conference USA first team pick by Athlon Sports, The Sporting News and Phil Steele’s 2014 Preview. Steele also rated him 30th among inside linebackers in his national “draft eligible” player rankings. His 192 career tackles is the high among the 2014 Herd. He played in all 14 games last season, starting 10, and was third on the team in tackles with 84 and in tackles for loss with 8.5. He also posted a pair of sacks, an interception and a pass breakup. For his efforts, the C-USA coaches made him a second team all-league selection at season’s end, while CollegeSportsMadness.com placed him on its third team.
Jasperse, also a Rimington Award candidate, enters his 2014 senior season having played 3,032 career snaps, which leads all active FBS offensive linemen. He has been picked by preseason publications as an All-Conference USA center and has started every game in his Marshall career – 39 – since being redshirted as a walk-on in 2010, a number that is also tied for the active FBS lead among offensive linemen in consecutive starts. He received his undergraduate degree last December and will play the 2014 season while taking classes toward a master’s degree in sports administration. He was the All-C-USA first team center in the 2013 season, as voted by league coaches.
Van Horn, Marshall’s starting right tackle, was named to the squad after a strong 2013 season in which earned All-Conference USA second team honors. He also won the team's Chad Pennington Award, given to the Marshall offensive player whose businesslike approach and dedication to tasks on and off the field make a difference. Van Horn, who moved into the starting lineup in Week 7 last season, graded out at 97 percent (assignment) and 83 percent (success) for the season. He had 35 knockdowns and allowed only 2.5 sacks while committing no penalties. The Beckley native is a 2014 preseason All-C-USA first team pick by Lindy’s and third team selection by Phil Steele.
While the Watch List highlights those players who have already received national recognition, any Division I player who meets the requirements is eligible for consideration from the Rotary Lombardi Selection Committee. This committee is comprised of more than 300 members including all past winners and finalists, all Division I head coaches and a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.
The Rotary Lombardi Watch List, intended as a reference tool for the selection committee, will be periodically updated and revised through the conclusion of the voting to determine the 12 semifinalists for 2014.
The 45th Rotary Lombardi Award will be announced Dec. 10, 2014, at the Bayou Music Center in Houston. For more information, visit www.rotarylombardiaward.org.
Marshall players on 2014 preseason watch lists for national college football awards (through 7/14/14)
Maxwell Award – Rakeem Cato, QB
Bednarik Award – James Rouse, DT
Rimington Trophy – Chris Jasperse, C
Ray Guy Award – Tyler Williams, P
Rotary Lombardi Award – Jermaine Holmes, LB; Chris Jasperse, C; Clint Van Horn, OT.
College Football Performance Awards – Rakeem Cato, QB; Tommy Shuler, WR; Jermaine Holmes, LB; Steward Butler, RB.