FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas defensive tackle Keith Jackson has been added to the pre-season watch list for the 37th Rotary Lombardi Award, it was announced by the Rotary Club of Houston on Thursday. The Rotary Lombardi Award, presented by Wachovia Bank, honors the top lineman in college football.
Jackson was one of 58 additions to the list of 43 players that were included in the initial release of the watch list last March. The new additions are players who have been highlighted in various pre-season honors lists. Jackson becomes the second Razorback to make the watch list joining linebacker Sam Olajubutu, who was named to the list in March.
Jackson is also the second in his family to earn recognition from the Rotary Lombardi Award. His father, Keith Jackson Sr., was a Rotary Lombardi Award finalist in 1987 while playing for the University of Oklahoma. Jackson Sr. currently serves as the radio color commentator for Razorback football games on the Arkansas Razorback Sports Network. Ironically, former Auburn defensive tackle and current UA defensive line coach Tracy Rocker was also a finalist for the Lombardi Award in 1987. Ohio State linebacker Chris Spielman won the honor in 1987 while Rocker won as a senior in 1988.
“I am pleased that Keith has been added to the watch list for this prestigious national award,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “He is one of our team leaders and is part of a strong defensive line unit. Our entire defensive line is having a good fall camp. We are looking forward to seeing them in action in a few weeks.”
Jackson was a second-team All-SEC selection last season after posting some impressive numbers. He had 74 tackles to rank fourth on the team and second in the SEC among defensive linemen. Jackson also posted 6.5 TFL (-32 yards), and a team-best three fumble recoveries and six quarterback hurries. He has earned pre-season All-SEC honors from nearly every publication including first-team recognition from Blue Ribbon, The Sporting News, Phipps Football Magazine and The Birmingham News. He was named second-team all-conference in polls conducted among league coaches and media members.
Any college football player who meets the basic award criteria (a down lineman on either side of the ball—including tight ends and linebackers who line up within five yards of the ball) is eligible to receive votes for the award. The award will be presented in Houston, Texas, on Dec. 6 at the Hilton Americas Hotel.