Aug. 14, 2002

Individuals from the 2002 Notre Dame football team have been recognized for many preseason award by different publications and groups around the country.

Senior center Jeff Faine leads the way for the Irish this season as he was named to both the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy preseason watch lists. Faine, the 300-pounder from Sanford, Fla., was also named to Street & Smith’s first-team preseason All-America list and was a second-team selection by Athlon’s. Faine is trying to become Notre Dame’s first All-America center since Tim Ruddy in 1993.

Faine was also tabbed the fifth-best center in the country by Lindy’s and The Sporting News, while senior Gerome Sapp was rated the fifth-best strong safety in the land by The Sporting News. Senior cornerback Shane Walton was ranked 12th in the nation by The Sporting News, while senior Nicholas Setta was placed fifth among kickers by Lindy’s and 13th by The Sporting News. Senior Courtney Watson was rated 17th among the nation’s middle linebackers by The Sporting News, and senior Tom Lopienski was charted 18th among fullbacks by the same publication.

Street & Smith’s also cited six Irish players as preseason honorable mention All-America selections. Senior Jordan Black was listed among offensive linemen, Walton and junior Vontez Duff among defensive backs, Watson among linebackers, Hildbold among punters and Setta among kickers.

Setta also has been named to the Lou Groza Award watch list. The Groza Award is given annually by the Palm Beach County (Fla.) Sports Commission to the nation’s top placekicker.