Darian Kinnard Named Rotary Lombardi Award Semifinalist

The senior offensive tackle has been rated one of the top run blocking tackles in FBS

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky offensive tackle Darian Kinnard is one of 12 semifinalists for the 2021 Rotary Lombardi Award, the Rotary Club of Houston announced on Wednesday. The award annually is given to an offensive or defensive lineman who combines outstanding performance on the field with the character and discipline of NFL Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi.

Kinnard, a 6-foot-5, 338-pound mountain from Knoxville, Tennessee, is one of five players from the Southeastern Conference on the list. The preseason All-American has played in 39 career games with 32 consecutive starts at right tackle for the “Big Blue Wall” that has bludgeoned opponents with one of the top rushing attacks in FBS the past few years.

The Wildcats’ offense is averaging 411.8 total yards per game, including 214.2 on the ground, and has already had five 100-yard rushing performances by running backs. Kinnard is rated as one of the country’s top run blocking tackles by Pro Football Focus.

Kinnard’s list of preseason awards included being named a preseason first-team All-American by Athlon Sports, ESPN, USA Today, Walter Camp and Pro Football Focus. He was also a preseason second-team All-America choice by Phil Steele. Additionally, he was named first-team All-Southeastern Conference by Athlon Sports, Media, Phil Steele and Walter Camp. He also is on the watch list for the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s top interior lineman on offense or defense in college football, and the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

To be considered for the Rotary Lombardi Award®, players must be a NCAA FBS college football team member and meet the following qualifications: 

  • Be a down lineman, end to end, either on offense or defense, setting up no further than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball at the time of the snap
  • Be a linebacker on defense, setting up no further than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage
  • Must not come out of the offensive backfield and set up on the line of scrimmage as a blocker or a receiver or listed in the program as an offensive back or receiver
  • Be eligible to participate in the current season

The second round of voting to reveal the final four finalists is Oct. 15 and the nominees will be revealed Nov. 9 at a special press conference in Houston, Texas at 11 a.m. EDT.

Honorary chair and famed Green Bay Packer Jerry Kramer, 1987 winner Chris Spielman, the four nominees and their coaches will attend the award ceremony on Dec. 8 in Houston Texas.  

The winner will add their name to a notable list of past winners such as Ndamukong Suh, Aaron Taylor, Julius Peppers, Terrell Suggs, Aaron Donald and two-time winner Orlando Pace. 

Just weeks after Coach Vince Lombardi’s 1970 death from colon cancer, the Rotary Club of Houston was authorized by Lombardi’s widow, Marie, to establish the Rotary Lombardi Award®. 

As stipulated by Mrs. Lombardi, net proceeds from the award’s activities are contributed to cancer research and specifically the American Cancer Society’s programs. 

For additional information, visit www.rotarylombardiaward.org.

Kentucky hits the road this weekend to take on top-ranked Georgia at Sanford Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. EDT on CBS Sports and the UK Sports Radio Network.

Only two home games remain for the Wildcats. VisitUKFootballTix.com for great deals on tickets and more information. Prefer to speak with an expert? Fans may work together with a personal ticketing consultant to compare and purchase available seat locations byrequesting a call or by contacting the UK Sales Office at (800) 928-2287 (Option 1).