HOUSTON – The Rotary Lombardi Award Committee has released the Official Watch List for the 2011 Rotary Lombardi Award. This is the 42nd year that the Rotary Lombardi Award has named the nation's college lineman of the year.
Eufaula native Courtney Upshaw of Alabama, a senior linebacker leads the list of four Crimson Tide players who made the list. In addition two Georgia Bulldogs and one Troy Trojan were named to the 125-man list.
Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense of defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, and linebackers who set up no father than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage. All candidates also must be eligible to play college sports under the rules and regulations of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
The candidates earned a place on the Official Watch List by earning All-American honors last season, by being named to their respective all-conference first team last season as selected by the conference's head coaches, by being projected to be an All-American or first team all-conference player for the coming season, or by nomination approved by the nominations committee.
While the Watch List highlights those players who have already received national recognition, any Division IA player who meets the above requirements is eligible for consideration from the Rotary Lombardi Award Selection Committee. This committee is comprised of more than 500 members, including all past winners and finalists, all Division IA head coaches, and a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.
The Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List, intended as a reference tool for the Selection Committee, will be periodically updated and revised up to the first round of voting to determine the 12 Semifinalists for 2010.
Last year's Rotary Lombardi Award winner, Nick Fairley (Auburn), was drafted by the Detroit Lions and Finalist Adrian Clayborn (Iowa) was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, both in the first round of the National Football League draft.
The 42nd Rotary Lombardi Award will be held on December 6-7, 2011 at Reliant Center in Houston, Texas.