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Three Wildcats make Lombardi watch list

By The Mercury

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 on 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.

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, Finney is K-State’s third two-time candidate for the award and 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 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 trophies. The Leawood 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 Nov. 6 and a list of finalists on Nov. 20. Those finalists will travel to Houston where the winner will be announced at the Wortham Center on Dec. 10.

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