Eligibility for the Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, or linebackers who set up no farther than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage.
The candidates earned a place on the preliminary watch list by earning All-American honors, being named to their respective all-conference teams or receiving 2013 pre-season honors. The Lombardi Award Watch List will be updated prior to the start of the 2013 season in order to identify other players who have received significant pre-season honors.
The Lombardi Watch List, intended as a reference tool for the Selection Committee, will be periodically updated and revised through the conclusion of the voting to determine the 12 Semifinalists for 2013. The 44th Rotary Lombardi Award will be held on December 11 at the Wortham Center in Houston, Texas.
Burnette, a native of LaGrange, started 12 games last season for the 12-2 Bulldogs. He was voted to the All-SEC Coaches Second Team after helping Georgia have one of the country’s most potent offenses. The Bulldogs set school records with total points (529) and average points a game (37.8) while allowing quarterback Aaron Murray to register more than 3,000 yards passing in each of the last three years.
The three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member earned his degree in Finance last year and married Arielle Haynes in May 2013.
David Pollack is the only Bulldog to win the Lombardi Award after earning the honor in 2004. Last year, Georgia All-American linebacker and current Pittsburgh Steeler Jarvis Jones was one of four finalists for the award.
The Bulldogs start the season with a non-conference matchup at Clemson on Aug. 31 at 8 p.m. ABC will televise the game from Memorial Stadium.