The football season is almost here and with it, the annual parade of preseason awards, projections and watch lists. And even though the Huskies were just 5-7 a year ago, they're a relatively young team with a new coach and a new system. Which means that there's plenty of room for improvement and that's evident by the three names to make the Rotary Lombardi Watch List for the nation's best lineman or linebacker: tight end Ryan Griffin, and linebacker Sio Moore and defensive end Trevardo Williams.
Details via UConnHuskies.com:
The Rotary Lombardi Award, now in its 43rd season, is given to the nation's top lineman or linebacker. Eligibility guidelines for the award include all offensive and defensive down linemen, end-to-end, who are set up no further than 10 yards to either side of the ball or linebackers set up no further than five yards from scrimmage.
Griffin, Moore and Williams are three of the Huskies best players, and they'll join nearly 150 other players from across the country on the Lombardi List.
Griffin, who was also named to the Mackey Watch List as one of the country's best tight ends, was named to the Big East second-team last season after catching 33 passes for 499 yards and three touchdowns. Williams was also a second-team Big East selection, leading UConn with 12 sacks and was second on the team with 15 tackles for loss. His 1.04 sacks-per-game ranked first in the conference and second in the country. Moore, meanwhile, was third on the team in tackles (86), led the team in tackles for loss (16) and was No. 2 in sacks (6.5).
These names aren't a surprise to make the Lombardi Watch List; back in June, NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang listed the five Husky players likely to play in the NFL some day and Griffin and Moore were Nos. 1 and 2, followed by CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB Dwayne Gratz and Williams at No. 5.