Despite his uneven play this season, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was announced as one of the 12 semifinalists Thursday for the Lombardi Award, given annually to the nation's best lineman or linebacker.
Clowney (6-foot-6, 274 pounds), a junior, remains perhaps the best NFL draft prospect in the nation, but he has just 27 tackles (11th on his team), 6.5 tackles for loss and two sacks in eight games.
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The semifinalists were chosen by a selection committee of more than 500, which includes all past winners and finalists, all Division I head coaches and a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.
Clowney is one of four SEC players on the list; the others are Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews, Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley and Missouri defensive end Michael Sam. The Pac-12 has three semifinalists: UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, Stanford linebacker Trent Murphy and Stanford guard David Yankey.
The other five semifinalists: Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley, Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, Baylor guard Cyril Richardson and BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
Three finalists will be announced later this month, and the winner will be announced Dec. 11.
Last season's winner was Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o. The most recent offensive lineman to win the award was Ohio State tackle Orlando Pace in 1996. Since then, 11 defensive linemen and five linebackers have been honored. This season, Barr should be considered the favorite.