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Nearly a clean SEC sweep in Lombardi Award finalists

As the calendar rapidly creeps up on both Thanksgiving and (sad face) the end of the 2012 regular season, finalists for various awards both prestigious and otherwise are slowly being rolled out.

The latest to do that deed is the Rotary Lombardi Award, presented annually to the nation’s top lineman (offensive or defensive) or linebacker. This year’s group of four finalists consists of at least one from each of those categories and is dominated by players from the SEC:

Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina, Defensive End
Barrett Jones, Alabama, Offensive Lineman
Jarvis Jones, Georgia, Outside Linebacker
Manti Te’o, Notre Dame, Inside Linebacker

Barrett Jones and Te’o were semifinalists for the award last season.

“We are honored to be able to help sustain the legacy of Coach [Vince] Lombardi by recognizing the singular leadership and talents of these outstanding players, and we extend our congratulations to all of our past winners and finalists who share in this legacy,” said Steve Vetrano, co-chair of the Rotary Lombardi Award, in a statement. “We also want to thank everyone who played a part in supporting this year’s award process, and look forward to the announcement of our 2012 Rotary Lombardi Award winner.”

The 42nd Lombardi Award will be presented Dec. 5. Last year’s winner was Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly (pictured).