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Charlottesville, VA Virginia senior defensive end Chris Long was named today as one of 15 semifinalists for the 2007 Chuck Bednarik Award for the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year. The Award is presented by the Maxwell Football Club, which also presents the Maxwell Award for the Collegiate Player of the Year and the George Munger Award for the College Coach of the Year.

The announcement of the winner of this year’s Bednarik Award will be made during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show that will be broadcast on ESPN on Thursday Dec. 6, 2007. Three finalists for the award will be in attendance for the ESPN broadcast. The formal presentation of the award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club’s Awards Dinner, to be held on Friday, March 7, 2008, at the Harrah’s Entertainment Complex in Atlantic City, N.J.

Voting for the Bednarik Award begins today and closes on Friday Nov. 30.

The other semifinalists for the Bednarik Award are: Ali Highsmith (LB, LSU), Calais Campbell (DE, Miami), Xavier Adibi (LB, Virginia Tech), James Laurinaitis (LB, Ohio State), Dan Connor (LB, Penn State), J Leman (LB, Illinois), Shawn Crable (LB, Michigan), Jordan Dizon (LB, Colorado), Glenn Dorsey (DT, LSU), Sedrick Ellis (DE, Southern California), Bruce Davis (DL, UCLA), Antoine Cason (DB, Arizona) and Wesley Woodyard (LB, Kentucky)

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 for a safety at the end of the third quarter in a 18-17 win at Maryland. Twice this year he has been named the ACC’s defensive lineman of the week.

Monday, Long was named one of four finalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award as the nation’s top lineman.

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