Utah State’s Kyler Fackrell and Zach Vigil named to Rotary Lombardi Award watch list

UNLV tight end Taylor Barnhill (16) is hit by Utah State linebacker Zach Vigil (53) after being upended by cornerback Tay Glover-Wright (4) in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, in Las Vegas. Utah State won 28-24. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State linebackers Kyler Fackrell and Zach Vigil have been named to the 2014 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List, it was announced Monday by the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA).

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 Aggie duo are two of the 11 players from the Mountain West on the 123-player list, joined by Brett Boyko (OT) of UNLV, Ben Clarke (C) of Hawai’i, Tyeler Davison (DT) of Fresno State, Ejiro Ederaine (LB) of Fresno State, Brock Hekking (DE) of Nevada, Cameron Jefferson (G) of UNLV, Ty Sambrailo (OT) of Colorado State, Cody Wichmann (OG) of Fresno State and Eddie Yarbrough (DE) of Wyoming.

Fackrell, a 6-5, 245-pound junior from Mesa, Ariz. (Mesa HS) was named an honorable mention Sophomore All-American by College Football News and earned second-team all-Mountain West honors a year ago as he finished the season ranking first on the team with 13.0 tackles for loss, tied for first with two forced fumbles and second with his 5.0 sacks, while ranking fourth on the team with 82 total tackles (37-solo, 45-assist). Overall, he averaged 5.9 tackles per game to rank 35th in the Mountain West. During the season, he recorded three quarterback hurries, recovered one fumble, intercepted one pass and registered one pass breakup. He was also named the Mountain West’s Defensive Player of the Week and College Football Performance Awards National Linebacker of the Week following USU’s 47-10 home win against Hawai’i as he recorded nine tackles, including 0.5 for loss, to go along with an interception return of 99 yards for his first career defensive touchdown, which ranks as the third-longest interception return in Utah State and Mountain West history.

As a redshirt freshman in 2012, Fackrell earned first-team all-WAC honors and was named Utah State’s first-ever Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Freshman All-American as he finished the year ranking second on the team and eighth in the WAC with three interceptions (0.23 pg), third on the team and 13th in the WAC with 8.0 tackles for loss (0.62 pg), and fourth on the team and 13th in the WAC with 87 tackles (6.7 pg), which ranks third all-time at in school history among freshmen.

Entering his junior season, Fackrell is also one of 40 college football players named to the College Football Performance Awards Linebacker of the Year Trophy Watch List, one of 76 players named to the Bednarik Award Watch List, one of 81 players named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, one of 51 players named to the Butkus Award Watch List, and a first-team preseason all-Mountain West selection by both Athlon Sports and Phil Steele.

Vigil, a 6-2, 232-pound senior from Clearfield, Utah (Clearfield HS) earned second-team all-Mountain West honors a year ago as he ranked second on the team, seventh in the conference and 42nd in the nation with 8.9 tackles per game. Overall, he finished the year with 124 total tackles (47-solo, 77-assist), which was tied for the 17th-most in the nation at the FBS level. In all, his 47 solo tackles led the team, while he was also tied for the team lead with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He also ranked second on the team with 12.5 tackles for loss and was tied for fifth overall with 2.0 sacks, while adding one interception, one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry.

As a sophomore in 2012, Vigil earned second-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors as he ranked second on the team, fifth in the conference and 84th in the nation with 105 tackles (8.1 pg). He also led the team and ranked tied for sixth in the WAC with 9.5 tackles for loss (0.73 pg) and second on the team and tied for seventh in the WAC with 5.5 sacks (0.42 pg).

Vigil is also one of 40 college football players named to the College Football Performance Awards Linebacker of the Year Trophy Watch List, and a preseason first-team all-Mountain West selection by both Phil Steele and Athlon Sports heading into the 2014 season.

The 45th Rotary Lombardi Award will be held on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at the Bayou Music Center in Houston, Texas.

Utah State returns 14 starters (O-6, D-5, S-3) as part of 38 letterwinners (O-17, D-18, S-3) from last year’s 9-5 team that won the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference, played in the inaugural Mountain West Championship game, and defeated No. 24 Northern Illinois, 21-14, in the 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

Utah State concluded the 2013 season by winning six of its final seven games to tie the 1960 and 1961 teams for the second-most wins in school history. With its win against Northern Illinois, Utah State posted back-to-back bowl wins for the first time in school history as it played in its third-straight bowl game, also a first at USU. Utah State also set the school record for conference wins as it posted a 7-1 league mark in its first season in the Mountain West.

Utah State ended the year ranking tied for 37th nationally in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ polls with two votes each, marking the second time in as many years that USU has concluded the season ranked among the top teams in the nation as the 2012 team was ranked 16th in the final AP poll, 17th in the final coaches’ poll and 22nd in the final Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings.

Utah State will open the 2014 season on Sunday, Aug. 31 at Tennessee and play its first home game the following weekend against Idaho State on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m.

Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on Facebook at Utah State Football, as well as on Instagram at instagram.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.

– USU –

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