It’s going to be incredibly tough for us to go a full week without Darian Kinnard being mentioned for some sort of award or honor. In fact, this is already the second time today that we’re going to talk about the Kentucky Wildcats star right tackle.
After being named a midseason All-American by our friends over at On3, Kinnard has been tabbed as a semifinalist for the 2021 Rotary Lombardi Award, the Rotary Club of Houston announced on Wednesday. The award is distributed annually to the offensive or defensive lineman who “in addition to outstanding performance and ability, best exemplifies the character and discipline of NFL Hall of Fame Head Coach Vince Lombardi,” according to the club’s press release.
Kinnard is one of 12 semifinalists who made the initial cut. The second round will cut the list down to four finalists on Nov. 9 with the award ceremony and announcement of a winner scheduled for Dec. 8 in Houston. Previous winners of this award include NFL stars such as Ndamukong Suh, Aaron Taylor, Julius Peppers, Terrell Suggs, Aaron Donald, and two-time winner Orlando Pace.
Standing at a monstrous 6-foot-5, 340 pounds, the native of Knoxville, TN, entered 2021 as a preseason All-American and he’s lived up to the billing thus far. Kentucky’s offense is pounding the ball for 214 rushing yards per outing, including five 100-yard performances by UK running backs. Pro Football Focus has Kinnard ranked as the 4th best offensive tackle in the country this season.
Below is a list of all 12 semifinalists (and yes, Alabama has 25 percent of them):
Will Anderson (OLB, Alabama)
James Empey (C, BYU)
Kenyon Green (OL, Texas A&M)
Christian Harris (MLB, Alabama)
Aidan Hutchinson (DE, Michigan)
Jermain Johnson (DE, Florida State)
Darian Kinnard (OT, Kentucky)
Tyler Linderbaum (C, Iowa)
Thayer Munford (OL, Ohio State)
PJ Mustipher (DT, Penn State)
Evan Neal (OL, Alabama)
Mike Rose (LB, Iowa State)