Two herd players nominated for prestigious award

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Marshall University linebacker D.J. Hunter and offensive tackle Clint Van Horn were named to the watch list for the 2015 Rotary Lombardi Award.

The award is named after Vince Lombardi, the Pro Football Hall of Fame coach, and is presented annually to a major college football lineman or linebacker.

Hunter, of Middletown, Ohio, and Van Horn, of Beckley, West Virginia are seniors for the Herd and All-Conference USA picks.

The preseason Lombardi Award Watch List includes 146 players.

Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award – named for the Pro Football Hall of Fame coach, Vince Lombardi — is limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, or linebackers who set up no farther than five yards from the line of scrimmage.

Hunter enters the 2015 season with 28 career starts, the most for any returning player in Coach Doc Holliday’s program. In Marshall’s 13-1 Conference USA title season of 2014, Hunter’s 80 tackles ranked fourth among the Herd, and included 10 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.
The 6-foot, 214-pound Hunter has 232 career tackles – tops among 2015 Marshall players – with 15 tackles for loss.

Van Horn, an All-Conference USA first team selection last season, was also named to the Outland Trophy Watch List last week. That honor goes to the nation’s top down lineman.
Marshall’s starting right tackle played 1,035 offensive snaps in 2014, finishing with a team-best 92 knockdowns in 14 games.

The 6-5, 310-pound Van Horn played every snap in the final four games of the nationally ranked Herd’s season. He has 22 career starts and is a repeat selection on the Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List. He was an all-conference second team selection as a sophomore in 2013.

The 46th Rotary Lombardi Award presentation will be held Dec. 9 at the Bayou Music Center in Houston.