Oregon safety Ugochukwu Amadi grateful for recognition that comes with Lombardi Award
Oregon safety Ugochukwu Amadi was named the winner of the Lombardi Award, which honors college football’s “outstanding player and leader,” on Friday night at the Post Oak Hotel.
“I feel ecstatic right now,” Amadi said. “This is by far one of the biggest awards I’ve won in my life.”
Amadi, a senior, finished his college career with more than 160 tackles, eight interceptions and four forced fumbles. This past season, he was responsible for 54 tackles, 1½ sacks, three interceptions, and two defensive touchdowns. He also returned a punt for a score.
Amadi was unanimously named to the Ducks’ Leadership Council and organized unofficial practices over the summer. His Ducks edged Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl in late December.
The safety was one of seven finalists for Friday’s Lombardi honors. He won over Notre Dame cornerback Julian Love, quarterbacks Gardner Minshew II (Washington State) and Kyler Murray (Oklahoma), offensive tackles Dalton Risner (Kansas State) and Jonah Williams (Alabama) and Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins.
“All these big-name guys, then here I am,” Amadi said. “I wasn’t the big guy that got all the praise and all the All-American stuff. This is by far the biggest award I’ve gotten in my life.”
The award is named after Vince Lombardi, who coached the Green Bay Packers to five NFL championships in seven years in the 1960s. This is the third year that the award has expanded from its original scope of honoring the best interior lineman or linebacker.
Army’s Jeff Monken was named Lombardi Coach of the Year, guiding the Black Knights to an 11-2 season, beating the University of Houston 70-14 in the Armed Forces Bowl.
“I’ve had state,” Amadi said of his accolades in the past, “I’ve never had best player in the nation before.”