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Nov. 7, 2006

HOUSTON– Three Big Ten Conference defensive standouts and one Big XII offensive lineman make up the four finalists for the 37th Rotary Lombardi Award, presented by Wachovia. The annual honor, which benefits the American Cancer Society, will be presented on December 6 at the Hilton Americas Hotel in Downtown Houston. Tickets are on sale now through the Rotary Club of Houston at (713) 973-9936.

The Award goes annually to the college football lineman – offense or defense – who, in addition to outstanding performance and ability, best exemplifies the discipline of legendary coach Vince Lombardi. The four national finalists were selected by a national group of college football coaches, writers and media members, as well as former finalists and winners of the award.

The four players selected in a nation-wide vote are Offensive Lineman Justin Blalock of the University of Texas, Defensive Lineman Quinn Pitcock of The Ohio State University, Linebacker Paul Posluszny of Penn State University, and Defensive End LaMarr Woodley of the University of Michigan. Posluszny is the only returning nominee to the group having been a finalist in 2005, and all four players are seniors.

“Our finalists dominate on the football field and stand as examples of hard work, discipline and support on their teams and in their communities,” said E. Michelle Bohreer, General Chair of the 37th Rotary Lombardi Award Committee. “Those are the characteristics so valued and respected by Coach Lombardi.”

A first team All Big XII selection each of the past two seasons, Blalock anchored the Longhorns’ offensive line during their run to the 2005 National Championship. The senior right guard is a big reason why the Horns are the 5th highest scoring team in NCAA football this year, averaging close to 40 points per game (39.2).

Pitcock leads the top-ranked Buckeyes with 7.0 sacks and 9.0 tackles for a loss, and is the anchor up front for a defense that has only allowed 76 points this season – the fewest in the nation.

Posluszny leads the Nittany Lions’ defense with 93 tackles (57 solo) and is third in the Big Ten Conference overall with 9.3 per game so far this season. He has added four tackles for a loss and two sacks to the Nittany Lions defense.

Woodley is tops in the Big Ten and third in the nation with 11 sacks, and is tied for 5th nationally with 15 tackles for a loss, for the # 2 ranked Wolverines. The 6-2 senior is also tied for 2nd in the nation with four forced fumbles.

Founded in the weeks following the death of legendary football coach Vince Lombardi from cancer in 1970, the Rotary Lombardi Award presented by Wachovia Bank has annually delivered upon the mission set forth by Marie Lombardi when she first granted the use of her late husband’s name. Her only stipulation was that all net proceeds from the event be donated to the American Cancer Society, and millions of dollars have been raised since that time.

This year’s Rotary Lombardi Award is being presented by Wachovia Bank, which is in the second year of a two-year presentation sponsorship agreement with the Rotary Club of Houston Foundation to support the event and its fund raising component. Tables and individual tickets are now on sale through the Rotary Club of Houston office (713) 973-9936.