<strong>LOGAN, Utah –</strong> Utah State football had four players named to the Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List it was announced Monday as two offensive players and two defensive players were recognized as part of the 107 players named to the list.
The award is named in honor of Hall of Fame Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi. The Rotary Lombardi Award recognizes the top offensive or defensive lineman and/or linebacker who lines up no more than five yards away from the line of scrimmage.
Utah State offensive players named to the 2013 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch list include senior center Tyler Larsen and senior offensive tackle Eric Schultz, while senior linebacker Jake Doughty and sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell were the two USU defensive players recognized.
In all, 26 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs placed multiple individuals on the Watch List, including four Mountain West schools in Boise State, Fresno State, San Jose State and Utah State. Furthermore, Utah State was one of just two MW schools along with SJSU and one of just five FBS programs to place four individuals on the Watch List joining Alabama, Notre Dame and Stanford.
Overall, the Mountain West had 15 players named to the Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List.
Larsen, a 6-4, 312-pounder from Salt Lake City, Utah (Jordan HS) enters his senior season having started 38 consecutive games, which is the longest active streak in the Mountain West and tied for the fifth-longest active streak in the nation. Larsen is a two-time first-team all-Western Athletic Conference honoree and the first USU offensive lineman to accomplish that feat since 1997.
During the 2012 season, Larsen tied for the team lead along with Schultz with an 86 percent overall performance grade, including 78 percent in technique and 83 percent in effort. He carried out the right assignment 97 percent of the time, including four games where he graded out at a perfect 100 percent. He also graded out above 90 percent two times in total performance, and above 80 percent 12 times in effort and seven times in technique. Overall, he posted 65.5 knockdowns on the season.
Along with being named to the 2013 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List, Larsen has also been named to the Outland Trophy Watch List, which is presented annually to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman and the Rimington Trophy Fall Watch List, which honors the most outstanding center in college football. Larsen has also been named a preseason fourth-team All-American by Phil Steele entering his senior season, and a preseason first-team all-Mountain West selection by both Athlon Sports and College Sports Madness.
Schultz, a 6-4, 308-pounder from Connell, Wash. (Connell HS) earned first-team all-WAC honors a year ago as he tied for the team lead along Larsen with an 86 percent overall performance grade, including 77 percent in technique and 82 percent in effort. He carried out the right assignment 98 percent of the time, including three games where he graded out at a perfect 100 percent. He also graded out above 85 percent 10 times in total performance, and above 80 percent 10 times in effort and six times in technique. He finished the year with 44.0 knockdowns and only allowed 1.5 sacks during the season.
Schultz has also been named preseason first-team all-Mountain West by College Sports Madness, and second-team all-Mountain West by both Athlon Sports and Phil Steele for 2013. Schultz has started 32 consecutive games to rank tied for seventh in the Mountain West and tied for 41st in the nation.
Doughty, a 6-0, 230-pounder from Draper, Utah (Juan Diego HS) earned first-team all-WAC honors in 2012 after leading the team, ranking second in the conference and tied for 71st in the nation with 109 tackles (8.4 pg). He also recorded 3.5 tackles for loss and 1.0 sack during the season, to go along with four pass breakups and three quarterback hurries.
Doughty has also named preseason second-team all-Mountain West by College Sports Madness and third-team all-Mountain West by both Athlon Sports and Phil Steele for 2013.
Fackrell, a 6-5, 245-pounder from Mesa, Ariz. (Mesa HS) earned first-team all-WAC honors and was the first Aggie in school history named a Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Freshman All-American a year ago as he finished the season ranking second on the team and eighth in the WAC with three interceptions (0.23 pg), third on the team and 13th in the WAC with 8.0 tackles for loss (0.62 pg), and fourth on the team and 13th in the WAC with 87 tackles (6.7 pg). Those 87 stops rank tied for third all-time at Utah State among freshmen. He also finished second on the team with seven quarterback hurries, to go along with 3.0 sacks and three pass breakups.
Fackrell, is also one of 41 players named to the College Football Performance Awards Linebackers Watch List, as well as being a preseason first-team all-Mountain West selection by Athlon Sports, a preseason second-team all-Mountain West selection by Phil Steele, and a preseason third-team all-Mountain West selection by College Sports Madness for 2013 .
Utah State returns 49 lettermen (offense-23, defense-22, specialists-4) and 18 starters (offense-8, defense-7, specialists-3) from its most successful team in school history as USU ended the 2012 season with a school-best 11-2 record as it set school records for wins (11) and home wins (6), while recording just its second bowl win in school history with a 41-15 victory against Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. USU also won its first outright conference championship since 1936, as it went 6-0 in the Western Athletic Conference, and just its third in school history joining the 1921 and 1936 teams that both won Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference titles.
Utah State ended the 2012 season nationally ranked for just the third time in school history as it finished the year ranked 16th in the Associated Press poll, 17th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ poll and 22nd in the Bowl Championship Series standings. USU also finished the 2012 season winning its final seven games, which is tied for the fourth-longest active winning streak in the nation and tied for the third-longest winning streak in school history.
Utah State will open the 2013 season on Thursday, Aug. 29 at Utah and play its first Mountain West game the following weekend at Air Force on Saturday, Sept. 7. USU’s first home game of the 2013 campaign will be on Saturday, Sept. 14 against Weber State, while its first home Mountain West game will be on Saturday, Oct. 12 against Boise State.
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