Canes Place Three on Lombardi List

The top-ranked Miami Hurricanes, who currently top both polls as they seek a second consecutive national football championship, have placed three players on the list of 12 semifinalists for the 2002 Rotary Lombardi Award that was announced yesterday.

Defensive tackle William Joseph and defensive end Jerome McDougle join center Brett Romberg on the list, along with Georgia's Boss Bailey (LB) and Jon Stinchcomb (OT), center Jeff Faine of Notre Dame, defensive tackle Tommie Harris of Oklahoma, linebackers E.J. Henderson of Maryland and Bradie James of LSU, defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy of Penn State and defensive ends Cory Redding of Texas and Terrell Suggs of Arizona State.

The anchors of the left side of the Hurricanes' defensive line, Joseph and McDougle were both tabbed for pre-season honors and have lived up to that billing. Joseph is tied for the team lead in tackles for loss (seven), while McDougle is tied for second with four sacks. A three-year starter at center, Romberg has not allowed a sack in his career with the Hurricanes.

Bailey is Georgia's leading tackler this season, racking up 75 stops in the first eight games. Stinchcomb has made 40 career starts for the Bulldogs at offensive tackle and is looking to join his brother Matt as a Lombardi finalist. The last brothers to both earn finalists honors were Tracy (1988) and David (1990) Rocker of Auburn.

Faine has started 30 straight games for the Irish and has been a guiding force in their return to the national spotlight. The lone sophomore in the list of 12, Harris has been a starter for the Sooners since he stepped on campus in the fall of 2001. Henderson led Maryland's remarkable run to the Orange Bowl last season and his headed for his second straight season of more than 100 tackles. James is the leader of LSU's "James Gang" defense that leads the nation in total defense. He has 100 tackles this season, his third straight year over the century mark.

Kennedy has already set a career high for tackles (54) and tackles for loss (12) while leading Penn State back to the top of the Big Ten race. Redding, who is vying to become the first Houston-area product to win the Rotary Lombardi Award, leads the Longhorns with 12 tackles for loss, including four sacks. Suggs has tied the NCAA record for sacks in a season (17.5), including 4 ½ last weekend in a win over Washington.

The 12 semifinalists were selected in a vote of over 400 members of the Rotary Lombardi Selection Committee, which includes all Division I head football coaches, selected sports writers and broadcasters from around the country and the past winners of the award. Voting to determine the four finalists for the 33rd Rotary Lombardi Award will begin this Sunday, November 3 and continue through November 11.

The four finalists will be flown to Houston to attend the gala Rotary Lombardi Award Dinner, which will be held on the field of Houston's Reliant Stadium on December 11th. Former President George Bush is the Honorary Chairman of the 2002 event and will speak at the dinner, as will legendary Green Bay Packer lineman Jerry Kramer and Houston Texans owner Bob McNair. This marks the first time the Rotary Lombardi Award Dinner has moved from a hotel ballroom and also marks the first time an event of this type will be hosted in the newly-opened Reliant Stadium.

Now in its 33rd year of honoring the top lineman or linebacker in Division I football, the Rotary Lombardi Award Dinner has raised over $2.6 million for The American Cancer Society since it was first held in 1970. Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to Division I down linemen and those defensive players who line up within five yards of the football.

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