Seven Bay Area college football players were named to the watch list for the Rotary Lombardi Award Monday, which is given annually to the nation's best lineman or linebacker.
Just two schools, Alabama (6) and Michigan State (5), have more players on the list than Stanford which has four: LB Chase Thomas, LB Shayne Skov, DE Ben Gardner and TE Levine Toilolo.
Thomas, a first-team All-Pac-12 selection last season, briefly flirted with the entering the NFL draft before electing to return for his senior year. Skov, a senior, missed most of last season after tearing his ACL against Arizona in the team's third game of the season. He'll miss the season-opener against San Jose State on Aug. 31 as punishment for a DUI arrest. Gardner, a junior, burst onto the scene last year -- his first as a starter -- and earned second-team all-conference honors. Along with fellow teammate Zach Ertz, Toilolo is regarded as one of the top tight ends in the country. He makes a big impact in the running game and his 6-foot-8 frame is a valuable target in the red zone.
San Jose State was also well-represented on the list with three players: OT David Quessenberry, DE Travis Johnson and LB Keith Smith.
Smith, a junior, led the Spartans in tackles (104) last season and Johnson ranked second in the Western Athletic Conference with 9.5 sacks. Quessenberry is entering his third season as the starter at LT.
Click here for the full list.