By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - The number of USF football players on national award watch lists has grown to four.
The Rotary Club of Houston announced Monday morning that defensive end Ryne Giddins and linebacker DeDe Lattimore have been named to the 43rd annual Rotary Lombardi Award Official Watch List. The honor is given to the nation's top college lineman or linebacker each year and the winner will be announced Wednesday, Dec. 5 in Houston during a nationally televised event.
Giddins and Lattimore add to USF's watch list group that started with Maikon Bonani being named to the Lou Groza College Place-Kicker Award Watch List for the second consecutive season. Starting left tackle Mark Popek was named to the 2012 Outland Trophy Watch List late last week.
Giddins, a redshirt junior, became a consistent force for the USF defense last season when he started all 12 games and registered 5.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss and 44 total tackles. The first-team All-American out of Armwood High School star earned All-Big East second team honors for his efforts.
"He just continues to mature and get better and better. He's got a great understanding of what we're doing," USF head coach Skip Holtz said. "I think Ryne Giddins is a talent who is a special player and I think as he continues to come along, he has a chance to live up to all the biddings that everybody put on him out of recruiting."
Lattimore, also a redshirt junior, became the top Bull with 94 tackles last season (sixth in Big East) while starting all 12 games. The Athens, Ga. native also led the Bulls in sacks (7) and tackles for loss (13) on the way to being named an All-Big East second team selection by Phil Steele.
Visit the Rotary Lombardi Award homepage here for more information on the honor and a look at the complete watch list.