MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State offensive linemen B.J. Finney and Cody Whitehair along with defensive end Ryan Mueller were named to the Rotary Lombardi Award watch list, the Rotary Club of Houston announced Monday.
The award, which is presented to the college lineman of the year, includes 123 players from 76 different institutions, including 12 from the Big 12 schools. Finney is a candidate for the award for the second-straight season while the other two are first-time members of the watch list.
A native of Andale, Kansas, Finney is K-State’s third two-time candidate for the award, joining Nick Leckey (2002-03) and Ian Campbell (2007-08), while he is now a candidate for a third award (Outland, Rimington). He earned All-Big 12 First Team honors each of the last two years and has started all 39 career games, including the last 38 at center.
Whitehair, who is also a candidate for this year’s Outland Trophy, was an All-Big 12 Second Team performer in 2013 after starting all 13 games at left guard. The Abilene, Kansas, native has started 25 of his 26 career games.
A former walk-on who turned into the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2013, Mueller picked up his fourth award candidacy as he was also named to the watch lists for the Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski and Lott IMPACT trophies. The Leawood, Kansas, native recorded a school-record tying 11.5 sacks in last season to go along with 18.5 tackles for loss. He earned Second Team All-America honors as a junior as well as All-Big 12 First Team accolades.
The 2014 Rotary Lombardi Award will announce its semifinalists on November 6 and a list of finalists on November 20. Those finalists will travel to Houston, Texas, where the winner will be announced at the Wortham Center on December 10.
Kansas State opens the 2014 campaign on August 30, with a contest against Stephen F. Austin at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The game, which kicks off at 6:10 p.m., serves as the sixth-annual K-State Family Reunion and will be shown world-wide on K-StateHD.TV.
Season tickets for the upcoming season are sold out, while only a small number of scattered singles remain for games against Texas Tech (Oct. 4), Texas (Oct. 25) and Oklahoma State (Nov. 1). Standing-room only tickets are available for the Stephen F. Austin, UTEP, Texas, Oklahoma State and Kansas contests.
Visiting teams will also have opportunities to return unused tickets up to a month prior to their visit. Stay tuned to www.kstatesports.com for information regarding returned ticket availability. All returned tickets will be sold at the full public rate and season ticket wait list accounts will have first opportunity to purchase. Fans can now join the 2015 waiting list online or by contacting the K-State Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-221-CATS or by visiting www.k-statesports.com/tickets.
Wildcats on Preseason Watch Lists
Jack Cantele – Lou Groza Award
B.J. Finney – Outland Trophy, Rimington Trophy, Rotary Lombardi Award
Tyler Lockett – Maxwell Award, Paul Hornung Award
Ryan Mueller – Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Lott IMPACT Trophy, Rotary Lombardi Award
Jake Waters – Maxwell Award
Cody Whitehair – Outland Trophy, Rotary Lombardi Award