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Charlottesville, VA Virginia senior defensive end Chris Long (Ivy, Va.) has been named one of four finalists for the 2007 Rotary Lombardi Award. The announcement was made today by the Houston Rotary Club. The other finalists include defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey of LSU, linebacker James Laurinaitis of Ohio State and offensive tackle Jake Long of Michigan.

This year’s winner will be announced Dec. 5 in Houston at the annual Lombardi Trophy Awards Dinner which features all four finalists.

The Rotary Lombardi Award goes annually to the college football lineman — offense or defense — who, in addition to outstanding performance and ability, best exemplifies the discipline of legendary football coach Vince Lombardi. The award was established by the Rotary Club of Houston in 1970. In addition to honoring the nation’s top lineman, the award also helps to raise funds for the American Cancer Society in Coach Lombardi’s name.

Long leads the ACC and ranks fifth in the nation with 12 sacks (1.20 per game) and is second in the country among linemen in passes defended (PBU+INT) with eight. He is averaging 6.5 tackles per game, has 18 tackles for loss and 19 QB hurries this year. Long has several notable plays in close games this year. He intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter at North Carolina to set up UVa’s final field goal in a 22-20 win, blocked a field goal attempt at Middle Tennessee in a 23-21 UVa win and recorded a sack at the end of the third quarter in a 18-17 win at Maryland.

Long has been named to Mid-Season All-America teams by,,, Rivals and Phil Steele’s College Football Preview magazine. In addition to being named a semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award, he is on the watch list for the Bednarik Award (nation’s top defensive player), the Nagurski Award (outstanding defensive player) and the Ted Hendricks Award (defensive end of the year).

To be considered for the Rotary Lombardi Award players must be a Division I college football team member and meet the following qualifications:

* Be a down lineman, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, setting up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball at the time of snap.
* Be a linebacker on defense, setting up no farther than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage.
* May not come out of the offensive backfield and set up on the line of scrimmage as a blocker or receiver, or be listed as a back or receiver.
* Shows leadership, courage, desire, respect for authority and discipline.

The voting electorate is made up of the head coaches from all Division I schools, sports media personnel from across the country and former winners and finalists of the Rotary Lombardi Award. Currently the total number of voters is approximately 500. A second vote will take place later this season to select the four finalists who will be invited to the Awards Dinner in Houston.

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