HOUSTON, TX Four players from schools with very different Rotary Lombardi Award histories were named today as the finalists for the 38th Rotary Lombardi Award, presented by Wachovia. This year’s award dinner will be held on December 5 at the Hilton Americas Hotel in Downtown Houston.
Glenn Dorsey, a senior defensive tackle, is the first player since 1971 to be named a Rotary Lombardi Award finalist from Louisiana State University. Defensive end Ron Estay of LSU was a finalist in 1971, the year Walt Patulski from Notre Dame took home the award. Dorsey was projected to be a first round NFL draft pick following his junior season, but elected to return to the Tigers for his senior year.
Linebacker James Laurinaitis is the 13th player to be named a finalist from The Ohio State University. Ohio State also boasts the most winners, with six. A.J. Hawk was the last Buckeye to take home the award in 2005. The only junior among this year’s finalists, Laurinaitis took over at middle linebacker for a young Ohio State defense in 2006 and led one of the best defensive units in the country.
Chris Long has made history as the first Rotary Lombardi Award finalist from the University of Virginia. Chris is a defensive end and is serving as team captain for the second straight year. He led the Cavaliers in 2006 with 12 tackles for loss and 21 quarterback pressures.
Finally, senior offensive lineman Jake Long hopes to pull off a repeat of last year, when LaMarr Woodley became the first Rotary Lombardi Award winner from the University of Michigan. The only offensive player among the finalists, Jake is returning as Wolverine team captain. He is a three-year letterman who was named the 2006 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year.
Founded in the weeks following the 1970 death from cancer of legendary football coach Vince Lombardi, the Rotary Lombardi Award has consistently delivered upon the mission set forth by Marie Lombardi when she 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.