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NEWPORT BEACH, Ca. Virginia senior defensive end Chris Long has been named one of four finalists for the fourth annual Lott Trophy, to be presented Dec. 9.

The other three finalists are LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis and Illinois linebacker J Leman.

The Lott Trophy honors the college football Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. The student-athlete is judged on both his on-field performance and his off-field performance. The Lott Trophy is the only sports award based on personal character and is appropriately named after Ronnie Lott, the legendary defensive back, who had Hall of Fame careers at both the college (USC) and professional (49ers, Raiders, Jets) levels.

The winner will be announced on Dec. 9th at a gala black-tie Awards Banquet at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach, Ca. All four finalists will be flown to Newport Beach for the banquet. The winner’s university will receive $25,000 for its general scholarship fund while the three runner-ups will receive $5,000 each for their schools.

Virginia’s Long is a finalist for the Lombardi and Nagurski awards. He leads the ACC in sacks with 14 and is a two-time captain of the Cavaliers. Long also leads the Cavaliers with 19 tackles for losses and 22 quarterback hurries. Long has twice been named the ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week this season. Virginia retired his No. 91 jersey last Saturday in Charlottesville. A 280-pound senior from Ivy, Va. The Cavaliers are 9-3.

LSU’s Dorsey is a 6-2, 299-pound senior from Gonzales, La. Many observers expect him to be the one of the first defensive players selected in next spring’s NFL draft. He is a finalist for both the Lombardi and Nagurski awards. He has anchored a Tiger defense that has been among the toughest in the nation all season. LSU is 10-2 and has been ranked in the Top 10 all season.

Ohio State’s Laurinaitis won the Nagurski Award as a sophomore last season and is a finalist for the Nagurski, Lombardi and Butkus awards this year. He has been named the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year by both the league coaches and media. The 244-pound junior from Hamel, Minnesota was a second team academic All-American a year ago. He was the Buckeyes’ defensive catalyst, leading them to a third consecutive Big Ten title. In all games, Laurinaitis led Ohio State (11-1) with 103 tackles while also collecting 8.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery in 12 games

Illinois’ Leman has already graduated and is in the University’s master’s program. He was a unanimous All-Big Ten choice, a mid-season All-American and a finalist for the Draddy Trophy for academic excellence. The Illini captain is a senior from Champaign with 124 tackles, 40 more than anyone else on the team. Illinois was the most improved team in the country, going from just two wins in ’06 to 9-3 this season

The Lott Trophy Banquet, which will be televised live by Fox Sports Net, will also feature a tribute to the late Bill Walsh, a founding Board member of the IMPACT Foundation; and the presentation to Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen with a Lifetime IMPACT Award.

Voting for the winner was conducted by Ernst & Young with ballots being sent to college offensive and defensive coordinators, national media, The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation Board of Directors, a Board of Advisors made up of former NFL players and coaches along with the 17 members of the Master Coaches.
Previous winners were David Pollack of Georgia (2004); DeMeco Ryans of Alabama (2005); and Daymeion Hughes of Ca (2006).

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