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Ohio State's Joey Bosa among Lombardi Award finalists

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Darron Cummings/Associated Press
Ohio State's Joey Bosa has emerged as one of college football's top defenders as just a true sophomore.

Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, who leads the Big Ten and is fifth nationally with 11.5 sacks, is one of four finalists for the Lombardi Award, which is given annually to the nation's top lineman or linebacker.

He is joined as a finalist by Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley, Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright and Washington defensive end Hau'oli Kikaha.

Kikaha is tied for the national lead with 16.5 sacks and leads the nation with 22.5 tackles for loss, while Wright is second in tackles for loss with 21 and fourth in sacks with 12. Beasley has eight sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. Bosa has 17 tackles for loss.


» Bosa doesn't buy J.J. Watt comparisons


A case can be made that Utah defensive end Nate Orchard, who has 16.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss, should have been a finalist. The same goes for USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams and Missouri defensive end Shane Ray. Williams might be the most talented player in the nation, regardless of position, while Ray leads the SEC with 13 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss.

While the award goes to the best lineman or linebacker, no offensive lineman has won the award since Ohio State offensive tackle Orlando Pace in 1996. In addition, only six offensive linemen have been finalists in the past 10 years, and this is the second year in a row in which there have been none.

Other past winners include Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald last season, Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly in 2011, Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in 2009, North Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers in 2001 and Washington defensive tackle Steve Emtman in 1991.

The winner will be announced Dec. 10.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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