The Lombardi Award finalists have been set and two of the final seven are Big 12 players in Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield and Iowa State LB Joel Lanning.
The Lombardi Award is presented to a college football player, regardless of position, based on performance, as well as leadership, character and resiliency.
The finalists are as follows:
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Shaquem Griffin, UCF
Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Joel Lanning, Iowa State
Bryce Love, Stanford
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Mayfield is coming off a Heisman-winning season where the quarterback led the nation in passing efficiency, while throwing for 4,627 yards and 43 touchdowns to six interceptions. He led the Sooners to the College Football Playoff for the second time in three seasons, but lost an epic 54-48 double overtime game to the Georgia Bulldogs.
Meantime, Joel Lanning made the move from quarterback to linebacker and Ames and went on to become one of the most effective defensive players in the Big 12 conference. His selflessness resulted in a team-best 114 tackles, 6.0 sacks (2nd) and 11 tackles for loss (3rd). Lanning still saw some time at quarterback, ranking third on the team with 147 rushing yards. He is a two-time captain who helped lead the Cyclones to their best season in years, finishing 8-5, which included two top 5 wins over the Sooners and Horned Frogs.
Four of the seven finalists will be chosen to attend the Lombardi Honors ceremony, Jan. 27 in Houston, Texas.