Stanford seniors Joshua Garnett and Blake Martinez were named to the Rotary Lombardi Award watch list and Martinez joined junior Peter Kalambayi on the Butkus Award watch list, the honors' selection committees announced Tuesday.
Eligibility for the Rotary 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 Butkus Award honors the nation's best linebacker. The watch list contains 51 players, honoring the professional jersey number of Kick Butkus, one of the best defensive players in football history.
Both awards are members of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 46th Rotary Lombardi Award presentation will be held on Dec. 9 at the Bayou Music Center in Houston, Texas. The 31st annual Butkus Award winner will be notified on or before Dec. 8.
It's the fourth and fifth watch lists for Martinez, who is also in the running for the Nagurski Trophy, Bednarik Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy. The inside linebacker was Stanford's leading tackler with 102 (53 solo) in 2014, as the Cardinal posted the No. 2 scoring defense in the nation. Martinez's efforts helped Stanford rank No. 1 in the Pac-12 in scoring defense, total defense, rushing defense and passing defense. Martinez tied for the team lead with three interceptions and was tied for fifth with 4.5 sacks on his way to All-Pac-12 honorable mention honors.
Garnett, an offensive guard, started all 13 games last season as Stanford posted the 18th-best tackles for loss allowed mark in the country (4.62/game). The Puyallup, Wash., native has been named to the Outland Trophy watch list, Phil Steele's preseason All-America third team and the Athlon preseason All-America fourth team.
Kalambayi is on his first career watch list after a breakout 2014 season. He had 32 tackles (19 solo), 9.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks from the outside linebacker position. Kalambayi burst into the spotlight with six tackles (five solo) and 3.0 sacks at Washington to earn Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors in just his fourth career game played. Phil Steele (third team) and Athlon (second team) have both named him to their respective preseason All-Pac-12 squads.
Former Stanford players who have reached the halfway point in the Major League season:
Drew Storen (Washington Nationals) has been one of the best relievers in baseball in the first half. The right-hander is second in the National League with 27 saves to go along with a 1.89 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 33.1 innings. The Nationals (48-39) are two games up on the New York Mets for first place in the NL East.
Jason Castro (Houston Astros) has played in 64 games at catcher, while hitting .212 with seven home runs and 19 RBI for the most surprising team in baseball. Led by manager A.J. Hinch, '96, Houston (49-42) is just 0.5 games back of the first-place Los Angeles Angels after entering the season with low expectations.
Jed Lowrie (Houston Astros) injured his thumb in late April after playing in 18 games. He was off to a nice start, hitting .300 with four homers and 10 RBI, and could be making his way back to the Astros soon.
Jeremy Guthrie (Kansas City Royals) owns a 7-5 record with a 5.36 ERA for the best team in the American League. Kansas City (52-34) has built a 4.5-game lead on Minnesota and a nine-game lead on Detroit thanks in part to Guthrie, who has allowed three or fewer runs in seven of his last eight starts.
Sam Fuld (Oakland Athletics) is hitting .208 with a homer, 11 doubles and three triples in 76 games for Oakland (41-50). Stanford's career runs leader has also stolen six bases and walked 20 times for a .288 on-base percentage. The A's are 8.5 games out of first place despite a run differential of +44, the fourth-best mark in the American League.
John Mayberry, Jr. (New York Mets) has served as a backup outfielder for the second-place New York Mets. He is hitting .188 in 96 at-bats over 52 games, while homering three times and driving in nine runs.
In other baseball news, Stanford's Gabe Cramer signed a free-agent contract with the Kansas City Royals and was assigned to the organization's Arizona Rookie League team on July 11.
Cramer was a key reliever for Stanford in 2015, his first season earning a prominent role. The righty threw 40.0 innings in 21 appearances, while earning three saves with a 3.60 ERA.
The Santa Rosa native primarily uses his fastball, which sits in the low-90s, while also featuring a changeup and curveball. He has struck out 34 batters in 41.1 career innings and opponents hit just .260 off of him.
The science, technology and society major had two years of eligibility left. He missed all of his freshman season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.