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CHICAGO, ILL Virginia senior defensive end Chris Long is one of eight finalists announced today for the 2007 Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award.

Also vying for the honor of the best defensive end in college football are Eric Bakhtiari from the University of San Diego, Penn State’s Maurice Evans, Vernon Gholston of Ohio State, Greg Middleton from Indiana, Oregon’s Nick Reed, Jonal Saint-Dic from Michigan State and South Florida’s George Selvie.

The final vote for 2007 Hendricks Award will conclude on Dec. 3, and the winner will be announced on Dec 5.

The award is named in honor of University of Miami three-time All-American and NFL Hall of Famer Ted Hendricks. On-field performance, leadership abilities and contributions to school and community are some of the criteria used to determine the award winner. The candidates may represent any class (freshman through senior) as well as any recognized four-year NCAA member school (Division I through Division III).

Here are profiles of the finalists:

Bakhtiari (6-4, 260, Sr.) earned his second consecutive Pioneer Football League’s Defensive Player of the Year honor this season. He leads all Division I players with 20 sacks and leads all Division I defensive ends with 76 tackles.

Evans (6-2, 257) is a sophomore from Brooklyn, N.Y. He earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors this season, after recording 12.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss. He is sixth in the nation in sacks and tackles for loss.

Gholston (6-4, 264, Jr.) ranks second in the Big Ten and 4th nationally in sacks with and was recently named the conference’s Defensive Lineman of the Year.

Long (6-4, 279, Sr.) is also a finalist for the Lombardi and Nagurski awards. He leads the ACC in sacks and is third in the nation, and also leads the ACC in tackles for loss. UVa retired his No. 91 jersey last weekend.

Middleton (6-3, 270, So.) leads the country with a school-record 16 sacks, and was named to the All-Big Ten First Team. His sack total is fourth best all-time in the conference.

Reed (6-2, 255, Jr.) leads the Pac-10 in sacks (12) and tackles for loss (20.5). Nationally, he ranks seventh in sacks and third in TFLs.

Saint-Dic (6-1, 255, Sr.) set the Big Ten single-season record with eight forced fumbles. His eight forced fumbles rank as the second-best single-season total in NCAA Bowl Subdivision history. A first-team All Big Ten choice, he is 18th in the country in sacks this season.

Selvie (6-4, 242, So.) has led the country in tackles for loss throughout the season. He has 31.5 TFLs this season and is just two shy of breaking the NCAA single season record. He is also second nationally with 14.5 sacks.

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