SAN JOSE -- San Jose State's Travis Johnson, the nation's leader in sacks, was named a quarterfinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award.
The award, named for legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, recognizes the top lineman, tight end or linebacker in college football.
"It's awesome being able to be recognized like that," Johnson said. "You don't hear a lot of smaller D-1 schools having something like that."
Johnson, a 6-foot-3, 244-pound defensive end from The King's Academy-Sunnyvale, is the only player from a non-Bowl Championship Series conference named to the list of 25 quarterfinalists.
Teammates David Quessenberry and Keith Smith were also on the preseason watch list of 145 players. The 25 quarterfinalists will be paired down to seven semifinalists at the end of October. Four finalists will be announced in November and the winner will be announced Dec. 5.
"It's just a shout-out to our whole defense because I can't do it by myself," Johnson said. "I need everyone else. It means that our whole defense is playing better and our team's playing better."
Johnson leads the nation with 7.5 sacks and is the NCAA's active career leader with 26.5 sacks. He's fourth among active players with 40.0 tackles for loss and shares the nation's longest active streak with a tackle for loss in 11 straight games.
Johnson is 3.5 sacks away from tying the school's career record of 30 sacks, held by Lyneil Mayo. That would also
"I try to ignore it right now because I know that anything can change at any moment," Johnson said. "There's no guaranteeing I'm ever going to get another sack. There's no guaranteeing anything. If I just play how I play and work my hardest, then good things will happen for me and the team."
Johnson was also added last week to the Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list, which recognizes student-athletes who have an impact on and off the field and is named after 49ers great Ronnie Lott. IMPACT stands for integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity.
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