Oct. 28, 2003
UCLA senior defensive end Dave Ball has been named one of 12 semifinalists for the 34th Rotary Lombardi Award, the winner of which will be announced on December 10 in Houston. The award is presented annually to the nation's top lineman.
Ball, who has helped lead UCLA to a first-place tie in the Pacific-10 Conference with a 4-0 record (6-2 overall), leads the nation with 11.5 quarterback sacks and leads the Pac-10 with 15.5 tackles for loss.
Five players from three undefeated teams were also named semifinalists - defensive tackle Tommie Harris and linebacker Teddy Lehman of top-ranked Oklahoma, linebacker Jonathan Vilma and tight end Kellen Winslow of the second-ranked Miami Hurricanes and defensive end Bo Schobel of TCU.
Rounding out the list of 12 semifinalists are offensive tackle Shawn Andrews of Arkansas, offensive tackle Robert Gallery of Iowa, linebacker Matt Grootegoed of USC , center Jake Grove of Virginia Tech and defensive ends David Pollack of Georgia and Will Smith of Ohio State,.
Harris was a finalist for the award last season and is looking to become the first two-time finalist since Andy Katzenmoyer of Ohio State in 1997 and 1998. Winslow is the first tight end to be named a semifinalist since Keith Jackson of Oklahoma, who went on to be named a finalist in 1987.
The semifinalists were selected by a panel of over 400 selectors, comprised of all Division 1 head coaches, all past winners and finalists of the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as writers and broadcasters who cover college football. Voting to determine the four finalists for the award will begin immediately and conclude on Monday, November 11.
Now in it's 34th year, the Rotary Lombardi Award continues on the path first set down by the founders of the award, who conceived of the event as a way to honor the memory of Vince Lombardi and raise money for the American Cancer Society. The first event took place just over four months after Lombardi's death, and since that time, nearly $3 million has been raised for cancer research.
This year's event is on Wednesday, December 10. Hall of Fame lineman Jackie Slater will serve as the guest speaker and will present the Rotary Lombardi Award to the winner at the end of the evening's festivities.
Tickets and tables are currently on sale through the Rotary Club of Houston office (713) 973-9936 or online at www.rotarylombardiaward.com.