Walden, Jones on Rotary Lombardi Watch List

MT one of six school's to have two or more players

March 20, 2007 · MT Media Relations
HOUSTON - The preliminary watch list for the Rotary Lombardi Award, presented by Wachovia Bank, was released today, with Middle Tennessee's Erik Walden and Tavares Jones making the list of 43 players. Michigan defensive end LaMarr Woodley won the 37th Rotary Lombardi Award in 2006.

This year's event, marking the 38th year of raising funds for the American Cancer Society while honoring college football's best lineman, will be held at the Hilton Americas Hotel in Houston on December 5, 2007.

Walden, a first team all-conference pick in 2006, set a school record with 11.5 quarterback sacks to rank 10th nationally and became the school's all-time leader in that category for the Blue Raiders. Jones, who also earned first team honors, started all 13 games and turned in a career year with 38 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

USC has the most players on the list with four, followed by TCU with three. Kentucky, Marshall, Middle Tennessee and Rutgers each have two players on the watch list. The Pac 10 Conference boasts the most players with seven, followed by the SEC with six, the Big East with five and the ACC and Mountain West conferences with four each. Conferences with three players each are the Big 12, Conference USA, MAC, Sun Belt and WAC. The Big 10 rounds out the list with two players.

The 43 preliminary candidates earned a place on the initial watch list by earning All-American honors or by being named to their respective all-conference team as selected by the conference's head coaches. The Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List will be updated prior to the start of the 2007 season in order to identify those players who have been selected as pre-season honors candidates.

Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen and those defensive players who line up within five yards of the football. 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 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 2007.

The complete Rotary Lombardi Award Preliminary Watch List for 2007 follows:

" Sam Baker, OT, USC
" Tommy Blake, DE, TCU
" George Bussey, OT, Louisville
" Ezra Butler, LB, Nevada
" Terrill Byrd, DT, Cincinatti
" Calais Campbell, DE, Miami
" Ian Campbell, DE, Kansas State
" Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State
" Bruce Davis, DE, UCLA
" Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
" Keilen Dykes, DT, West Virginia
" Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
" Larry English, DE, Northern Illinois
" Eric Foster, DT, Rutgers
" Drew Fowler, LB, Air Force
" John Greco, OT, Toledo
" Quentin Groves, DE, Auburn
" Vince Hall, LB, Virginia Tech
" Tavares Jones, DE, Middle Tennessee
" Steve Justice, C, Wake Forest
" James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State
" Doug Legursky, OL, Marshall
" Kory Lichtensteiger, OL, Bowling Green
" Jake Long, OT, Michigan
" Jonathan Luigs, C, Arkansas
" Alex Mack, C, California
" Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
" Albert McClellan, DE, Marshall
" Shawn Nelson, TE, Southern Miss
" Chase Ortiz, DE, TCU
" Jeremy Perry, OG, Oregon State
" Jason Phillips, LB, TCU
" Josh Pinnick, DL, Florida Atlantic
" Barry Richardson, OT, Clemson
" Steve Rissler, C, Florida
" Keith Rivers, LB, USC
" Martin Rucker, TE, Missouri
" Bo Ruud, LB, Nebraska
" Jacob Tamme, TE, Kentucky
" David Vobora, LB, Idaho
" Erik Walden, DL, Middle Tennessee
" Wesley Woodyard, LB, Kentucky
" Jeremy Zuttah, OL, Rutgers

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