Four Trojans make Lombardi Award watch list

Sophomore linebacker Dion Bailey, senior center Khaled Holmes, senior defensive end Wes Horton and sophomore linebacker Hayes Pullard were named to the preseason watch list for the Rotary Lombardi Award, the Rotary Club of Houston announced Monday afternoon.

The award is presented each year to the best lineman or linebacker in college football. Last year’s winner was Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, who selected by the Carolina Panthers in the top-10 of last April’s NFL draft.

If any of the four Trojans were to win the award, he would be the first USC player to do so and the first Pac-12 player since Arizona State’s Terrell Suggs in 2002.

As freshmen last season, Bailey and Pullard led the team in tackles with 81. Holmes and Horton have also provided steady leadership in recent years. Starting seven games in 2011 as a fourth-year junior, Horton finished with 22 tackles, along with four sacks.