North Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers won the 2001 Lombardi Award, becoming the first Tar Heel defensive player to win a major national award.
This year's Lombardi Award Watch List is divided up nearly equally, with 58 offensive players and 63 defensive players who meet the playing criteria currently on the list. To be eligible for the Rotary Lombardi Award, a player my play on the line of scrimmage (including tight ends on offensive) or must be a linebacker who lines up within five yards of the football.
The 123 members of the Watch List earned a place on the Watch List by earning All-American honors at the end of the 2004 (or previous seasons), by being named to their respective All Conference team as selected by the conference's head coaches or by being named to one of the pre-season honor teams.
The Lombardi Award will celebrate its 36th year of honoring the finest linemen in college football on December 7 at the Hilton Americas Hotel in Downtown Houston. All net proceeds from the dinner and related activities are donated to the American Cancer Society. Since the first dinner in 1971, nearly $3.1 million has been raised through the efforts of Rotarians and their guests.