Shawn Andrews Named Finalist for Rotary Lombar
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas junior offensive tackle Shawn Andrews has been named one of four finalists for the 34th Rotary Lombardi Award it was announced on Tuesday. Andrews joins UCLA’s David Ball, Oklahoma’s Tommie Harris and Georgia’s David Pollack as finalists for the prestigious national award. The winner of the Lombardi Award will be announced on Dec. 10 in Houston.
Andrews is a consensus All-America selection and is also one of the top candidates for the Outland Trophy. The Camden, Ark., product has racked up a team-high 78 knockdowns this season including a school record total of 21 in the Razorbacks’ 34-31 double-overtime win at Alabama.
“To be named one of four finalists for the Lombardi Award is a tremendous honor for Shawn, our program and the University of Arkansas,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “When you look at the great players that have been associated with this award over the years, it is special to be included in that company. He is an outstanding player and is well deserving of this kind of recognition.”
Andrews is attempting to become the first Razorback in school history to win the Lombardi Award. If Andrews captures the honor, it would coincide with the 15th anniversary of the 1988 presentation to Auburn’s Tracy Rocker. Rocker is currently in his first season as a defensive line coach at the University of Arkansas.
For the second consecutive year, the Rotary Lombardi Award Dinner will be held on the field of Reliant Stadium. Hall of Fame lineman Jackie Slater will be the keynote speaker and announce the winner at the end of the evening’s festivities. Since the first dinner was organized less than five months after Vince Lombardi died of cancer in September of 1970, the Rotary Lombardi Award has raised nearly $3 million in funds for the American Cancer Society.
Andrews (6-6, 353) is the first Razorback to be honored as a finalist since Billy Ray Smith earned back-to-back nominations in 1981 & 82. He was the first Arkansas sophomore in history to earn first-team All-America honors last year. This year, he has graded out at better than 90 percent in eight of nine games and played every offensive snap in Arkansas seven-overtime victory over Kentucky.
Ball (6-6, 275) is the Bruins first finalist since Jonathan Ogden made the trip to Houston in 1995. Last week in a loss at Washington State, he set UCLA single season (13.5) and career (27.5) sack records. He helped key a 39-0 second half run by the Bruins vs. Washington, collecting 3.5 sacks after halftime as the Bruins came back to win 46-16. For his efforts, he was named the National Defensive Player of the Week.
Harris (6-3, 289) is the 13th player from OU to earn a second nod as a finalist and the first since Andy Katzenmoyer in 1997 & 1998. Harris was named last year as a sophomore. Of the previous 12 repeat finalists, seven have come back to win the award in their second try. The last three repeaters have failed to win the award; the last to take home the trophy in his second attempt was Marvin Jones of Florida State, who won in 1992 after earning a nod in 1991. He and his Sooner defensive mates are coming off a 77-0 blanking of Texas A&M in which the Aggies totaled just 54 yards all day and did not pass their own 45-yard line.
Pollack (6-3, 278) is the Bulldogs first finalist since Matt Stinchcomb in 1998. Pollack was a consensus All-American pick last year as a sophomore. This season, he was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance at Tennessee, which included two sacks for a loss of 14 yards, two pass deflections, two quarterback hurries, and eight total tackles. His is currently fifth on Georgia’s career sack list with 18.5, and his total is the highest for any player with only three seasons under his belt.
This marks the first time since 1988 that the SEC has produced a pair of finalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award. That year, Tracy Rocker of Auburn became the last SEC player to win the award, selected over Derrick Thomas of Alabama, Broderick Thomas of Nebraska and Mark Messner of Michigan.
Harris is the 12th Sooner to be named a finalist, one more than Ohio State. Of the previous 11, Lee Roy Selmon (1975) and Tony Casillas (1985) went on to win the award. He will be looking to join Dat Nguyen of Texas A&M and Grant Wistrom of Nebraska as winners from the Big XII. Ball will be looking to give the Pac-10 its second straight winner, joining Terrell Suggs of Arizona State last season.
Tickets for the 34th Rotary Lombardi Award Dinner are currently on sale either by calling the Rotary Club of Houston office at (713) 973-9936 or by logging on to www.rotarylombardiaward.com.
2003 ROTARY LOMBARDI AWARD FINALISTS
NAME, SCHOOL, POS., HT., WT., YR., HOMETOWN
Shawn Andrews, Arkansas, OT, 6-6, 353, Jr., Camden, Ark.
David Ball, UCLA, DE, 6-6, 275, Sr., Dixon, Calif.
Tommie Harris, Oklahoma, DT, 6-3, 289, Jr., Killeen, Texas
David Pollack, Georgia, DE, 6-3, 278, Jr., Snellville, Ga.
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