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’s eligibility was expanded to all positions from 2017 to 2020.
The award reverted to its original eligibility in 2021, and Notre Dame is benefiting from that in 2022.
That’s because four Irish players have been named to the watch list for the award.
Not only is the winner the best player at his position, but he also best reflects Lombardi’s character.
The Irish undoubtedly are happy they go into the season with four chances to net the sixth Lombardi Award in program history.
Manti Te'o was the Irish’s last winner in 2012, so they definitely are overdue for another one.
The award can be presented to a lineman on either side of the ball, and since tight ends also can be blockers,
they are eligible for the award, too. Keep that in mind as we look at the Irish players on the list:
1. Jayson Ademilola #57 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish reacts against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the second quarter in the 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal Game at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One at AT&T Stadium on Jan. 1, 2021, in Arlington, Texas.
Jayson Ademilola #57 Started all 13 games in 2021 while recording 49 tackles and eight tackles for loss.
2. Notre Dame defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey (7) during an NCAA football game against Purdue on Saturday, Sept.18, 2021, in South Bend, Indiana.
Isaiah Foskey (7) led the Irish with 11 sacks in 2021.
3. Michael Mayer #87 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium on Jan. 1, 2022, in Glendale, Arizona.
Michael Mayer #87 also is on the watch lists for the Maxwell Award, Mackey Award, Biletnikoff Award, and Walter Camp Award.
4. Notre Dame offensive lineman Jarrett Patterson (55) plays against the Navy in the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021.
Jarrett Patterson (55) also is on the watch lists for the Rimington Award and Outland Trophy.