Center Greg Eslinger of Minnesota and linebackers Spencer Havner of UCLA and A. J. Hawk of Ohio State were each semifinalists in 2004. They are joined on the list Dumervil, offensive tackle D'Brickshaw Ferguson of Virginia, defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka (Key-wah-new-ka) of Boston College, defensive tackle Jessie Maheloa of Tennessee, linebackers Paul Posluszny (Puz-LUZ-knee) of Penn State and DeMeco Ryans of Alabama, offensive tackles Joe Thomas of Wisconsin and Eric Winston of Miami, and defensive tackle Rod Wright, Texas.
Dumervil leads the nation in sacks (16.5) and set an NCAA record by recording nine in consecutive games, including an NCAA record six versus Kentucky. The product of Miami, Fla., leads the Cardinals in tackles with 40 and tackles for loss with 17.5. He's tallied three sacks against Oregon State, Florida Atlantic and North Carolina. He's been named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week three times and needs one more forced fumble to tie an NCAA record with eight forced fumbles.
This year's class of semifinalists includes eight defensive players and four offensive linemen. The Big Ten Conference leads the way with four semifinalists, followed by the ACC with three and the SEC with a pair. The Big XII, Big East and Pac-10 each have one player on the list. Louisville is the only one of the 12 schools represented who has not produced a previous finalist for the award.
Founded in the weeks following the death of legendary football coach Vince Lombardi from cancer in 1970, the Rotary Lombardi Award presented by Wachovia Bank has annually delivered upon the mission set forth by Marie Lombardi when she first granted the use of her late husband's name. Her only stipulation was that all net proceeds from the event be donated to the American Cancer Society and over $3.1 million has been generated since that time.
Former Texas A&M All-American and Houston Oiler All Pro Ray Childress is serving as the events Honorary Chairman of the 36th Rotary Lombardi Award presented by Wachovia. Tables and individual tickets are now on sale through the Rotary Club of Houston office (713) 973-9936.
This year's Rotary Lombardi Award is being presented by Wachovia Bank, which earlier this month announced a two-year presentation sponsorship agreement with the Rotary Club of Houston Foundation to support the event and its fund raising component.
The Rotary Club of Houston, in operation since 1912, is an association of more than 350 successful business professionals, all prominent in their individual fields of endeavor, who volunteer their efforts through the work of some two dozen club committees. Assistance is provided to such diverse groups as troubled youngsters, former prison inmates, business oriented high school students, families of cancer patients, deserving college scholarship candidates and the nation's cancer research efforts. The club's most recent community project is the East End Healthy Children's Collaborative which provides much needed access to primary health care for residents on Houston's East side.