Alabama defensive linemen Jonanthan Allen, Da’Shawn Hand, Da’Ron Payne and Dalvin Tomlinson, linebackers Ryan Anderson, Reuben Foster, and Tim Williams, tight end O.J. Howard and offensive lineman Cam Robinson have been named to the 2016 Rotary Lombardi Award watch list announced today by the Rotary Club of Houston. Alabama’s nine candidates equals Clemson for the most in the country.

They are among 158 players from around the country named to the preseason list that now recognizes the nation’s top college football player. Alabama’s Cornelius Bennett won the award in 1986.

Due to a change in its criteria in 2016, the Rotary Lombardi Award is now open to college football players regardless of position, who “demonstrate outstanding performance and skill in offensive or defensive positions and best exemplify the discipline, virtue and wisdom that defined Vincent Lombardi's exceptional brand of leadership.” The award is named in honor of former Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi.

The Rotary Lombardi Award has been presented annually since 1970 by the Rotary Club of Houston. Prior to 2016, the award recognized the top offensive or defensive lineman or linebacker in college football. The award ceremony date will be announced later this season.