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Did Nevis Get Shafted?

Carter "The Power" Bryant Thursday, November 11, 2010 , , ,
Nevis gave LSU a big boost in the 4th quarter.
Photo via

Today the Rotary Lombardi Finalists were announced. The award is given to the best offensive or defensive lineman in college football. 

I got notification of one of the four finalists via @SECSportsUpdate on Twitter. That's when I knew LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis was shafted for not being one of the finalists for the prestigious award.

In the famous words of Vince Lombardi, the famous Green Bay Packers coach whom the trophy is named after...


Nevis has been named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week four times this season and received National Defensive Player of the Week by the Walter Camp Foundation. 

But before I tar and feather the Rotary Club of Houston for not including Nevis, let's take a look at the four finalists.

Jake Kirkpatrick of TCU has paved the way at center for the undefeated Horned Frogs. He is the only offensive lineman that made the list, so it's hard for me to say he should or shouldn't have made it. 

Junior defensive end Da'Quan Bowers is finally becoming the player Clemson expected him to become when he was recruited as the No. 1 defensive player in the Rivals 100. Bowers has 13 sacks on the season. 

Because Kirkpatrick and Bowers plays different positions than Nevis, it's hard to compare the three. But the other two finalists, Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley and Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn, play similar positions/styles as Nevis.

The one position in football where statistics is more overrated in rating a position is defensive line. I am a former defensive lineman, so I know when I see great plays that won't show up in the stat sheet.

But stats do mean something. And when it comes to Nevis' numbers, there can be no way we can deny his high level of production. Here is how he stacks up versus Fairley and Clayborn. I also included last year's winer Ndamukong Suh stats after nine games. 

Clayborn likes QB's to taste grass
Photo via
Drake Nevis
47 tackles, 6 sacks, 2 FF, 27 solos

Adrian Clayborn
40 tackles, 3 sacks, 0 FF, 13 solos

Nick Fairley
43 tackles, 8 sacks, 0 FF, 25 solos

Ndamukong Suh
53 tackles, 4 sacks, 0 FF, 29 solos

As we can see, Nevis' numbers are just as good if not better than those of the other three.

I watched a ton of film on Suh last year, and it was pretty clear he got a double teams for most of the season. His numbers were mind blowing compared to the amount of blocking variations he faced through out the year.

Fairley is as dominant a pass rusher as I've seen in the SEC. He thrives when he gets 1-on-1 versus a guard in a 3-technique (on the guard's outside shoulder). What also helps Fairley is that he outplayed Nevis when the teams faced each other.

I've watched a lot of black and gold football this season, but just not Iowa black and gold. Clayborn's numbers don't stack up to Nevis or Fairley. And it's important to note that he was the most highly touted defensive lineman coming into the year. When it comes to the men up front, preconceived notions help out tremendously because it's not as easy to judge lineman as it is skilled-position players.

I watch Nevis on a weekly basis. I've watched a fair amount of Fairley (so cool how I just said that) and very little of Clayborn. The Iowa monster could be eating up blockers and having to face double teams for most of the year. I just don't know.

But I do know that Nevis has forced more turnovers and has more solo tackles than the other two. I also know that Nevis made as clutch a play a defensive lineman could make in the first quarter versus Alabama last week (Pictured Above).

I think thats what award winners on defense do. They not only make plays, they make clutch plays when their teams needs them to the most for victory.

So here is my solution... why not just invite Nevis to the award ceremonies as well? 

For the Heisman Trophy, there has sometimes been three, four or five players invited to the award ceremonies. Can't the Lombardi do the same?

And on a different note, the finalists go to a charitable event in Houston. What does it hurt for one of the nicest, most humble elite athletes in college football to make that trip?

Nevis deserves to go to the finals. Students should make shirts in protest. Fans should send Emails of anger.

But from interviewing Nevis on a weekly basis, awards probably doesn't matter to him. He just wants to keep playing for Christ and his team as hard as he can. 


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