Vince Lombardi/Rotary Award: Nick Fairley
Drawing comparisons to the disruptive way that Ndamukong Suh played last year for the Nebraska Corn Huskers, Fairley has been simply dominant in 2010 for the Tigers. Fairley played like a man possessed, bowling his way through offensive lines almost every play and practically owning real estate in opposing offenses’ backfield. He did a sensational job as the anchor for a Tigers defensive unit that only allowed three 100-yard rushers all season. He was part of the defense that held the 2009 Heisman trophy winner, running back Mark Ingram, to only 36 rushing yards. Despite missing the Chattanooga game, Fairley tallied 55 tackles including 21 for a loss, 10.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception.
Fairley’s most impressive game was Auburn’s 24-17 win over the LSU Tigers. He lived in the LSU’s offensive backfield, bringing down the quarterback for 2.5 sacks while tallying six total tackles. Four of his sack tackles were for a loss, totaling 23 negative yards for LSU.