OREGON SAFETY UGO AMADI WINS PRESTIGIOUS LOMBARDI AWARD – Amadi Named 2018 Most Outstanding College Football Player
HOUSTON – Oregon senior defensive back Ugochukwu Amadi received the Lombardi Award for the 2018 college football season at a banquet Friday night hosted by Lombardi Honors.
Chosen from a pool of seven finalists that included Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray and Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, Amadi was named the top FBS player regardless of position based on the Lombardi Award’s criteria of “performance and leadership honed by character and resiliency.”
The award was formerly given to the best college football defensive lineman or linebacker up until 2017. Stanford’s Bryce Love was the first winner of the award in 2017 under its current criteria.
Amadi in 2018 became the first Power 5 player since 2015 to return two interceptions and also a punt for a touchdown in the same season. A five-time game captain who shared Oregon’s team MVP award with QB Justin Herbert, Amadi also was an active participant in community outreach projects while leading a secondary that featured three sophomores at the other starting spots.
A native of Nashville, Tenn., Amadi started all 13 games at safety in 2018, after moving from cornerback to safety in the middle of the 2017 season. He also campaigned to become Oregon’s primary punt returner for his senior season, and made good on his commitment by returning 14 punts for 223 yards, including a touchdown against UCLA.
Amadi played in all 51 games over his four years at Oregon, beginning with his freshman year in 2015. The Ducks went 9-4 that season, then played for three coaches over the ensuing three seasons. Amadi helped his teammates navigate the changes, and was rewarded as a senior with another nine-win season capped by the first postseason victory of his career, in the Redbox Bowl.
For his efforts on the field, Amadi was also a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s best defensive back. He was one of three UO seniors from the 2018 team invited to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine, to be held in early March.
For the season, Amadi finished with 55 tackles, including five tackles for loss with 1.5 sacks. He intercepted three passes overall, and had eight pass breakups. He also helped his sophomore teammates in the secondary – cornerbacks Deommodore Lenoir and Thomas Graham Jr., and safety Nick Pickett – improve dramatically, allowing a passer rating of 105.1 over the final three games of the season, ranking 11th in the Power 5.