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HOUSTON One finalist and three semi-finalists from last year’s Rotary Lombardi Award voting are among 54 players selected to the 2008 preliminary watch list released today.

Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis, one of four finalists for the 38th Rotary Lombardi Award, presented by Wachovia, was the only junior among last year’s finalists. The other finalists, all seniors, were LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, Virginia defensive end Chris Long and Michigan offensive lineman Jake Long. Dorsey won the 38th Rotary Lombardi Award in ceremonies held at the Hilton Americas Hotel in Houston on December 5, 2007.

The three semi-finalists returning to this year’s list are offensive linemen Alex Mack, California, and Duke Robinson, Oklahoma, and South Florida defensive lineman George Selvie.

Brigham Young University and the University of Hawaii tied for the most players on the preliminary watch list with four players each. Georgia Tech, Oklahoma, Penn State, Ball State, Oregon, Ole Miss, Florida Atlantic and Troy all have two players on the list.

In conference lineups, the SEC boasts the most players with eight, followed by the Big Ten, Big 12 and Mid-American with six. The Big East, Sun Belt and Western Athletic have five each and both the Mountain West and the Pac-10 have four players each. Rounding out the list are the ACC with three players and Conference USA with two.

Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen and those defensive players who line up within five yards of the football. The candidates earned a place on the preliminary watch list by earning All-American honors or by being named to their respective all-conference first team as selected by the conference’s head coaches. The Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List will be updated prior to the start of the 2008 season in order to identify those players who have been selected as pre-season honors candidates.

While the Watch List highlights players who have already received national recognition, any Division 1 player who meets the position requirements is eligible for consideration from the Rotary Lombardi Selection Committee. This committee is comprised of more than 500 members, including all past winners and finalists, all Division 1 head coaches and a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. The Rotary Lombardi Watch List, intended as a reference tool for the Selection Committee, will be periodically updated and revised through the conclusion of the voting to determine the 12 Semifinalists for 2008.

The complete Rotary Lombardi Award Preliminary Watch List for 2008 follows:
Travis Beckum, TE, Wisconsin
Robert Brewster, OT, Ball State
Diyral Briggs, DE, Bowling Green
Terrill Byrd, DT, Cincinnati
Ian Campbell, DE, Kansas State
Solomon Elimimian, LB, Hawaii
Auston English, DE, Oklahoma
Larry English, DE, Northern Illinois
John Estes, OL, Hawaii
Maurice Evans, DE, Penn State
Ray Feinga, OL, BYU
Andrew Gardner, OT, Georgia Tech
Dominic Green, OL, Nevada
Greg Hardy, DL, Ole Miss
Jason Harmon, TE, Florida Atlantic
Darius Hill, TE, Ball State
Daniel Holtzclaw, LB, Eastern Michigan
Phillip Hunt, DE, Houston
George Hypolite, DT, Colorado
Greg Isdaner, OL, West Virginia
Herman Johnson, OL, LSU
Jan Jorgensen, DL, BYU
Frantz Joseph, LB, Florida Atlantic
Mitch King, DL, Iowa
James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State
Boris Lee, LB, Troy
Adam Leonard, LB, Hawaii
Jonathan Luigs, C, Arkansas
Alex Mack, OL, California
Scott McKillop, LB, Pittsburgh
Gerald McRath, LB, Southern Miss
Matt Mandich, OL, Arkansas State
Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
Greg Middleton, DE, Indiana
Joe Mortensen, LB, Kansas
Clayton Mullins, OB, Miami (OH)
Eric Norwood, DE, South Carolina
Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss
Anthony Parker, OL, Tennessee
Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
Dennis Pitta, TE, BYU
Ryan Purvis, TE, Boston College
Nick Reed, DE, Oregon
Dallas Reynolds, OL, BYU
Duke Robinson, OL, Oklahoma
George Selvie, DL, S. Florida
A.Q. Shipley, C, Penn State
Dion Small, OL, Troy
Andre Smith, OL, Alabama
Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida
Max Unger, OT, Oregon
David Veikune, DL, Hawaii
Vance Walker, DT, Georgia Tech
Eric Wood, C, Louisville

The 39th Rotary Lombardi Award dinner will be held on December 10, 2008 in Houston. For more information call the Rotary Club of Houston at 713-973-9936 or visit the website at http://www.rotarylombardiaward.org/

The Rotary Club of Houston, in operation since 1912, is an association of more than 350 successful business professionals, all prominent in their individual fields of endeavor, who volunteer their efforts through the work of some two dozen club committees. Assistance is provided to such diverse groups as troubled youngsters, former prison inmates, business oriented high school students, families of cancer patients, deserving college scholarship candidates and the nation’s cancer research efforts. The club’s most recent community project is the East End Healthy Children’s Collaborative which provides much needed access to primary health care for residents on Houston’s East side.