Missouri junior defensive end Shane Ray added another honor Tuesday when he was announced as a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award, given annually to the top offensive or defensive lineman or linebacker in college football.
Ray, who was announced Monday as a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award as the nation’s best defensive player, leads the SEC in sacks (12) and tackles for a loss (16).
He broke the Tigers’ single-season record for sacks with two more Saturday against Kentucky. Aldon Smith (2009) and Michael Sam (2013) shared the old record at 11 1/2.
Ray, a Bishop Miege graduate, has five two-sack games this season and has earned four weekly SEC awards, including three as the conference’s defensive lineman of the week and one as the defensive player of the week, through seven games.
It is the second consecutive year Missouri has a Lombardi semifinalist after Sam was a finalist last season for the award, which is presented by the Rotary Club of Houston.
The list of 12 players will be pared to four finalists on Nov. 20 and the winner will be announced Dec. 10 during a ceremony at the Bayou Music Center in Houston.
Ray also has 50 tackles, four quarterback pressures and two forced fumbles this season for the Tigers, 7-2, who lead the SEC Eastern Division with a 4-1 conference record.
Ray is among four SEC players to make the semifinalist cut, along with Auburn senior center Reese Dismukes, Mississippi State junior linebacker Benardrick McKinney and Mississippi sophomore defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche.