Wright, Blalock, Scott On Lombardi 'Watch List'

LDT Rod Wright, RT Justin Blalock and LT Jonathan Scott are among the 54 candidates selected to the Lombardi Award 'Watch List' for college football's top lineman, it was announced Tuesday.

Only two Longhorns have won the Lombardi in the 36-year history of the Award. Two-time All-American DT Kenneth Sims took home the prize in 1981 while All-American DT Tony Degrate received the designation just three years later. During the Mack Brown era, DE Cory Redding was a Lombardi Finalist in 2002 while Butkus Award winning WLB Derrick Johnson was one of four finalists for last year's Lombardi Award. No one wearing the Burnt Orange was named as a Finalist during the 19-year interim between 1983 and 2002.

Preliminary candidates earn a spot on the Watch List if they tallied All-American honors in previous seasons, or by being named to their respective All Conference team as selected by the league's head coaches. Scott and Wright both earned All-America honors last season and were joined by Blalock as consensus first-team All-Big 12 selections.

Wright (6-5, 305) is expected to anchor what should be one of the stoutest Longhorn defensive fronts in recent memory. The senior played in 11 games last season, posted 36 tackles, a sack, three tackles for loss and seven QB pressures. He has played in 37 career games and, starting 32 of them, has compiled 181 tackles including 28 TFLs. He posted a career high 11 tackles in the 2002 win over Nebraska and matched the effort during his sophomore campaign against Baylor.

Blalock (6-4, 329) and Scott (6-7, 310) both started all 12 games last season and are the bookends of what should be Texas' best O-line since Brown took over the program eight seasons ago.

No other candidates from Big 12 Conference schools were named to the preliminary list.

Eligibility for the Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen and those defensive players who line up within five yards of the football. The Watch List will be updated prior to the start of the 2005 season, in order to identify those players who have been selected as pre-season honors candidates.

The Lombardi Selection Committee consists of more than 500 members, including all past finalists, all Division I head coaches and a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. The Watch List is intended as a reference tool for the Selection Committee and will be periodically updated and revised this season. The Selection Committee will determine 12 Semifinalists (usually in November) before the Award is presented on December 7 in Houston.

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