The Lombardi Award is given out each year to the top lineman in the nation and the semifinalists for the award were revealed on Thursday with one glaring omission: Oklahoma State Cowboys defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. To say that Ogbah is not one of the top 12 linemen in the nation right now is a grievous mistake that may just invalidate the award completely for this season.
The 2014 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year has followed up his stellar sophomore season (11 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, three hurries, 49 total tackles) with another strong start to 2015. Through eight games, Ogbah has been one of the most productive defensive linemen in the nation with a Big 12-leading nine sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss to go along with 14 hurries and 41 total tackles this season. He has recorded at least half a sack in 14 of his past 16 games dating back to last season, with 17 total sacks during that span and six of those 17 sacks coming on third down plays.
When you stack that production up against players that did make the cut as Lombardi finalists, it makes the snub of Ogbah all the more puzzling. While there is no denying the talent of players like Robert Nkemdiche of the Ole Miss Rebels (1.5 sacks, 5.5 tackles for loss, six hurries), Joey Bosa of the Ohio State Buckeyes (3.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, nine hurries), and Shaq Lawson of the Clemson Tigers (6.5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for loss, two hurries), their numbers so far this season simply do not stack up with Ogbah.
While individual awards don’t mean much in the large scheme of things, as Ogbah himself tweeted “I’m not worried about individual awards, I’m worried about 9-0!!!”, there should still be some integrity to the proceedings. When a player of Ogbah’s caliber gets snubbed like he was for the Lombardi award, it’s a baffling decision that only casts doubt on the validity of the 2015 Lombardi Award proceedings moving forward.