Oct. 30, 2001
Houston - UCLA standout middle linebacker Robert Thomas headlines the list of 12 semifinalists for the 2001 Rotary Lombardi Award, announced today in Houston.
Thomas, offensive tackles Bryant McKinnie and Joaquin Gonzalez of top-ranked Miami, guard Toniu Fonoti of second-ranked Nebraska, linebacker Rocky Calmus of Oklahoma and defensive end Alex Brown of Florida are among the 12 players who remain in contention for the award.
Joining them are defensive tackle Wendell Bryant of Wisconsin, defensive end Kalimba Edwards of South Carolina, defensive end Dwight Feeney of Syracuse, defensive tackle John Henderson of Tennessee, defensive end Julius Peppers of North Carolina and defensive tackle Larry Triplett of Washington.
This year's list features nine defensive players and three from the offensive side of the ball. Jamal Reynolds of Florida State was the 2000 Rotary Lombardi winner, earning the nod over offensive linemen Ben Hamilton of Minnesota, Steve Hutchinson of Michigan and Dominic Raiola of Nebraska.
The Big East and Southeastern Conference have each placed three players among the semifinalists, followed by the Big 12 and Pac 10 with two. The Big 10 and the ACC each are represented by one player.
The four Finalists for the 2001 Rotary Lombardi Award will be announced the week of November 11 after a second round of voting among nearly 300 members of the selection committee made up of sportswriters, broadcasters and Division I head coaches from around the country.
The four Finalists and their head coaches will be flown to Houston on December 4 for a myriad of activities in Houston, which include visits to local hospitals and area youth groups. The culmination of their activities in Houston will be the black tie dinner at the J.W. Marriott Hotel on December 5, where the 32nd recipient of The Rotary Lombardi Award will be revealed. Dom Capers, head coach of the Houston Texans will be the featured speaker, while longtime Houston broadcaster Ron Stone will serve as the Master of Ceremonies.
Tickets for the 2001 Rotary Lombardi Award Dinner begin at $200 and can be purchased by calling the Rotary Office (713) 973-9936. Information on tickets is also available on-line at www.rotarylombardiaward.com .
2001 ROTARY LOMBARDI SEMIFINALISTS
NAME SCHOOL POS. HT. WT. YR. HOMETOWN
Brown, Alex Florida DE 6-4 262 Sr. White Springs, FL
Bryant, Wendell Wisconsin DT 6-4 302 Sr. St. Louis, MO
Calmus, Rocky Oklahoma LB 6-3 234 Sr. Tulsa, OK
Edwards, Kalimba South Carolina LB 6-6 250 Sr. East Point, GA
Freeney, Dwight Syracuse DE 6-2 250 Sr. Bloomfield, CT
Fonoti, Toniu Nebraska OG 6-4 340 Jr. Hauula, HI
Gonzalez, Joaquin Miami OT 6-5 294 Sr. Miami, FL
Henderson, John Tennessee DT 6-7 290 Jr. Nashville, TN
McKinnie, Bryant Miami OT 6-9 335 Sr. Woodbury, NJ
Peppers, Julius North Carolina DE 6-6 285 Jr. Bailey, NC
Thomas, Robert UCLA LB 6-2 222 Sr. Imperial, CA
Tripplett, Larry Washington DT 6-1 300 Sr. Los Angeles, CA