Kansas junior linebacker Ben Heeney was named to the 2013 Rotary Lombardi Award preliminary watch list announced Monday. Heeney, a Hutchinson, Kan., native, is KU’s top returning tackler heading into the 2013 campaign.
Heeney burst on to the scene in 2012 with 112 tackles in his first season as a starter for the Jayhawks. His 112 tackles included 66 solo stops. He led KU with 12.0 tackles-for-loss and added one sack. He also was credited with two pass breakups, one quarterback hurry and one forced fumble.
Heeney earned second team All-Big 12 honors following the 2012 season from the conference coaches, the Associated Press and Phil Steele Magazine. He is listed as a preseason first team All-Big 12 member entering the 2013 season by Athlon, Lindy’s and The Sporting News. Additionally, Heeney was named to the College Football Performance Awards watch list for the top linebacker in the NCAA.
Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award 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 deep from the line of scrimmage. The candidates earned a place on the preliminary watch list by earning All-American honors, being named to their respective all-conference teams or receiving 2013 pre-season honors. The Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List will be updated prior to the start of the 2013 season in order to identify other players who have received significant pre-season honors.
The Rotary Lombardi Watch List, intended as a reference tool for the Selection Committee, will be periodically updated and revised through the conclusion of the voting to determine the 12 Semifinalists for 2013. The 44th Rotary Lombardi Award will be held on December 11, 2013 at the Wortham Center in Houston, Texas.
Heeney and his KU teammates will report for fall camp on Wednesday, Aug. 7. Kansas will open the 2013 season on Saturday, Sept. 7, when it plays host to South Dakota at Memorial Stadium at 6 p.m.
— KU Sports Information —