The finalists include Louisville's Elvis Dumervil, Mississippi State's Willie Evans, Penn State University's Tamba Hali, Boston College's Mathias Kiwanuka, Rutgers University's Ryan Neill, and Virginia Tech's Darryl Tapp.
The Hendricks Award winner will be announced during the final week of the bowl season.
Elvis Dumervil, a senior from Miami, Fla. has had a remarkable season, and is only four sacks away from breaking Terrell Suggs' NCAA record for sacks in a season (24). Suggs was the 2002 winner of the Hendricks Award. At just 6-feet tall and 250-pounds, Dumervil appears to be the single most destructive defensive end in college football, registering 21 sacks, 23 tackles for a loss, an interception, three passes batted down and a Big East record eight forced fumbles. Dumervil leads NCAA Division 1-A in sacks, tackles for a loss and forced fumbles. Beyond sacks and forced fumbles, Dumervil leads Louisville with 51 total tackles and has forced opponents into 159 yards of losses in just seven games.
Mississippi State defensive end Willie Evans, named second-team, all-Southeastern Conference by the Associated Press...Started all 11 games during a breakthrough junior season in which he became a dominant player on the Bulldog defensive line...Was second on the club and led all defensive linemen with 67 tackles...Registered a team-best 14.5 tackles for loss (minus 53 yards), a squad-leading five and a half of which were quarterback sacks (minus 25 yards). "You have to know where Willie Evans is at all times," Tide Head Coach Mike Shula said following a recent Alabama practice.
Tamba Hali from Penn State has been virtually unblockable the last month.
Penn State defensive lineman Tamba Hali had four sacks against Wisconsin to earn USATODAY.com Player of the Week award. The senior had nine tackles overall as the Nittany Lions held the high-scoring Badgers to just 14 points.
Mathias Kiwanuka from Boston College was named 2005 ACC Preseason Player of the Year by the league's media in voting conducted at the annual Football Kickoff in July. Kiwanuka was the 2004 Big East Defensive Player of the year, he was a consensus 2005 preseason All-America selection and ranked as the number one defensive end in the nation and as the ACC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year by the Sporting News.
DE Ryan Neill is ranked third in the nation in tackles for loss (2.00/game) and is 25th nationally in sacks (0.78/game). Neill is also noted for his deep-snapping ability. Ryan Neill from Rutgers University is said to use his exceptional speed to spend half the game in foe's backfields.
Darryl Tapp is one of the nation's top defensive ends ... A preseason All-America pick by Athlon. An explosive performer who is coming off a big season ... Was a first-team All-ACC pick. Led the team in sacks, tackles for loss and quarterback hurries last year.
For more information on last year's award including photos, see the Hall of Fame Players Association site at HOFplayers.com.