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Tunsil, Nkemdiche named to Lombardi watch list; Johnson on Butkus list

Tunsil, Nkemdiche named to Lombardi watch list; Johnson on Butkus list

Ole Miss juniors Laremy Tunsil and Robert Nkemdiche and senior C.J. Johnson all landed on preseason watch lists Tuesday. Tunsil and Nkemdiche are part of the Rotary Lombardi Trophy watch list, given to the nation’s best lineman or linebacker, while Johnson received honors for the Butkus Award, honoring college football’s top linebacker.

Johnson started 12 games for Ole Miss last season at defensive end and has not played the linebacker position for the Rebels in a game since 2011. However, during spring practices the senior moved to middle linebacker and took the majority of first team reps. Johnson, one of three Rebels at SEC Media Day on Thursday, is a fifth year senior who has 137 career tackles, including 24 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks.

CJ Johnson throws up another Landshark 2

CJ Johnson throws up the Landshark in the Peach Bowl vs. TCU on December 31, 2014. (Photo credit: Bentley Breland, The Rebel Walk)

Nkemdiche stands out amongst his teammates, receiving his fifth inclusion on a preseason watch list this summer. The defensive tackle, a preseason All-SEC First Team member, recorded 35 tackles and four tackles for loss last season for the Rebels. In addition to the Lombardi Trophy, Nkemdiche has also been named to the watch lists for the Outland Trophy, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy.

Nkemdiche with eyes set on Razorback RB Collins in the 2014 Arkansas game. (Photo credit: Bentley Breland, The Rebel Walk)

Nkemdiche with eyes set on Razorback RB Collins in the 2014 Arkansas game. (Photo credit: Bentley Breland, The Rebel Walk)

In Tunsil’s career with the Rebels, he has only given up two sacks and is projected, along with Nkemdiche, as a first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Tunsil has also been named to the watch list for the Outland Trophy and has been named preseason All-America first team by Sporting News, Phil Steele, Lindy’s, The Kickoff and CFB Matrix.

Laremy Tunsil has been named to the Outland and Lombardi Award watch lists. (Photo credit: Bentley Breland, The Rebel Walk)

Laremy Tunsil has been named to the Outland and Lombardi Award watch lists. (Photo credit: Bentley Breland, The Rebel Walk)

(Feature image: CJ Johnson throws up the Landshark against Memphis in 2014. Photo credit: Bentley Breland for The Rebel Walk.)

About The Author

Courtney Smith

Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men's basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with Rivals.com. A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.

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