There will be an Arkansas connection at the 2013 Broyles Award banquet next week.
Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, a Springdale native, was named among the five finalists for the award given to the top assistant in college football in a Monday afternoon news release on the award’s website.
Lashlee, a former Arkansas and Shiloh Christian quarterback, spent last season as offensive coordinator at Arkansas State under current Auburn coach Gus Malzahn. Malzahn won the Broyles Award in 2010, when he also was the offensive coordinator at Auburn.
Lashlee’s unit is 15th in the nation in total offense at 491 yards per game and 17th in points per game at 38.6. He’s helped lead the Tigers to an 11-1 record in 2013 after the program finished last season 3-9 under former coach Gene Chizik.
Also named to the list of finalists are two assistants from the Atlantic Coast Conference, Florida State offensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and Duke offensive coordinator/quarterback coach Kurt Roper.
Baylor offensive coordinator Phillip Montgomery and Michigan State defensive coordinator Paul Narduzzi round out the list.
Pruitt has been the leader of a Seminoles offensive unit that ranks seventh in the nation in total offense (526.1 yards per game), second in points per game (53.7) this year and features Heisman Trophy candidate Jameis Winston at quarterback. Roper has helped the Blue Devils to one of their best seasons in school history, winning the Coastal Division title and earning a spot in next week’s ACC Championship Game, where they will play Pruitt and Florida State.
At Baylor, Montgomery has orchestrated the nation’s most potent offensive attack, leading the country in total offense at 635.1 yards and 55.4 points per game. Narduzzi’s unit at Michigan State is tops in the country in total defense, holding opponents to 237.7 yards per game. The Spartans are also fourth in the nation in points allowed at 11.8 per game.
The winner will be unveiled at the award’s banquet on Dec. 10 at the Little Rock Marriott, located at 3 Statehouse Plaza.