LOGAN, Utah – Two Utah State football players were named to preseason Watch Lists Wednesday, as senior linebacker Bobby Wagner was tabbed to the 2011 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List while sophomore center Tyler Larsen was named to the Rimington Trophy 2011 Fall Watch List.This is the 42nd year that the Rotary Lombardi Award has named the nation’s college lineman of the year. Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense of defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, and linebackers who set up no father than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage. All candidates also must be eligible to play college sports under the rules and regulations of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).The Rimington Trophy is presented annually to the Most Outstanding Center in NCAA Division I-A College Football.Wagner is one of three Western Athletic Conference players on the 125-player Lombardi Watch List, joined by Fresno State defensive tackle Logan Harrell, Hawai’i linebacker Corey Paredes. He also is one of three players from the state of Utah on the list, joined by BYU offensive tackle Matt Reynolds and Utah linebacker Utah Chaz Walker.Larsen is the lone WAC player on the 43-player Dave Rimington Trophy Fall Watch List, given annually to the nation’s most outstanding center in college football. Larsen is also one of only four sophomores on the list, as there are 24 seniors and 15 juniors. The Aggie center is one of two centers from the Beehive State, joined by BYU’s Terence Brown.”It is an honor to be recognized among the nation and conference’s best linemen and linebackers,” Wagner said. “All these preseason awards show how much you can do and how far you can go with dedication and hard work. It is very humbling and I’m very appreciative for these honors. They give me a lot of motivation to go out and show that I’m deserving of the recognition.”Wagner, a native of Ontario, Calif. (Colony HS) is a two-time first-team all-WAC honoree. Last season, he led the WAC and ranked tied for seventh in FBS with 11.1 tackles per game, ranking second in the WAC with 133 total tackles in 2010 season. Wagner enters his senior season nearing USU’s and WAC’s career tackles list, as he currently has 299 career stops, needing 22 tackles to break into the Aggies’ top 10 list and 18 stop to crack the WAC’s top 10. In 2010, Wagner tallied a WAC-best four 15+ tackle outings, including two 17-stop games, a 16-tackle game and a 15-tackle outing. On the season, he logged a total of seven double-digit tackle games, and had at least six stops in all 12 games. Additionally, Wagner added eight tackles for loss with half a sack, as well as four pass breakups and one forced fumble.”These two honors are well-deserving for these two players. Both Bobby and Tyler are extremely hard workers on and off the field, and these awards recognize that hard work and dedication,” USU head coach Gary Andersen. “We are ready for them to finish off the hard work they have done in the offseason and continue to be positive leaders for our program as we enter the fall.”Larsen, a native of Salt Lake City, Utah (Jordan HS), was named to the second-team Phil Steele all-Freshman Team last season after starting all 12 games at center for the Aggies. He made all the blocking calls for the USU offense, anchoring an offensive line that helped the Aggies amass 4,168 yards of total offense (347.3 ypg), including 168.7 ypg rushing and 178.7 ypg passing, for a total of 32 TD’s. “It is a great honor, I couldn’t be happier. It shows that the hard work pays off. It is a confidence booster and a huge motivator to try to earn the award. It is a honor to be one of the youngest guys on the list, up there with seniors who have been doing this for three or four years,” Larsen said.Wagner is the first USU player on the Lombardi Watch List since linebacker Paul Igboeli was on the 2009 Watch List. Larsen is the third Utah State player to be named to the Rimington Watch List, joining Brent DeLadurantey in 2005 and Ryan Tonnemacher in 2007. Wagner and Larsen are two of Utah State’s 46 returning letterwinners (29 offense, 16 defense, one special teams), including 17 starters (10 offense, six defense, one special teams), from last season’s 4-8 overall mark, and 2-6 in WAC play, in head coach Gary Andersen’s second season at the helm of the Aggie program.After its season-opener at Auburn, Utah State’s home opener is on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. (MT), taking on in-state foe Weber State, marking the first time that USU and WSU have squared off since 2001, and Utah State leads the all-time series, 11-1. The Aggie-Wildcat match-up will have special meaning for Andersen, who will be facing his mentor, Weber State head coach Ron McBride. Andersen played for McBride at Utah in 1985-86.For USU football ticket information, contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, or by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics. -USU-
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