Four Tiders Cited For Lombardi Award

This is the season of watch lists for national football awards, and it was almost a case of who didn't make the Rotary Lombardi Award watch list as the nation's top college lineman. To be fair, the Lombardi Award eligibility includes a lot of positions. And even though 125 are on the list, Alabama stands out with four nominees.

Offensive and defensive linemen and some linebackers are eligible for the award and Alabama players making the list included two offensive linemen – Barrett Jones and William Vlachos – and two linebackers – Dont'a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw.

This is the 42nd year that the Rotary Lombardi Award has named the nation's college lineman of the year. The winner will be introduced in December in Houston.

Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award includes 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.

The candidates earned a place on the initial watch list by earning All-America 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-America 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.

Jones, a junior from Germantown, Tenn., will be a third-year starter. He was a Freshman All-America on Alabama's 2009 national championship team and is a pre-season All-America.

Vlachos, also a three-year starter, is a senior from Birmingham.

Hightower, a junior from Lewisburg, Tenn., is a pre-season All-America.

Upshaw, a senior from Eufaula, was MVP of the Capital One Bowl last year.

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