Oct. 16, 2008
BERKELEY - California senior center Alex Mack has been named one of 12 semifinalists for the 39th Rotary Lombardi Award, marking the second straight year he has been honored as a semifinalist for the national honor.
The Rotary Lombardi Award annually goes to the college football lineman of the year - offense or defense - who, in addition to outstanding performance and ability, best exemplifies the discipline of Vince Lombardi.
Founded in the weeks following the 1970 death from cancer of the legendary football coach, the Rotary Lombardi Award has consistently delivered upon the mission set forth by Marie Lombardi when she granted the use of her late husband's name. Her only stipulation was that all net proceeds from the event be donated to the American Cancer Society. Millions of dollars have been raised since that time.
Linebacker James Laurinaitis of Ohio State returns to the semifinalist list after being chosen as one of the final four for the 38th Rotary Lombardi Award, which went to LSU's Glenn Dorsey. Also returning from last year's semifinalist list are Mack, Oklahoma's Duke Robinson and South Florida's George Selvie.
A first-team All-American last season and winner of the 2007 Morris Trophy as the top offensive lineman in the Pac-10, Mack is also on the watch list for the Outland Trophy (best interior lineman) and is a candidate for the Rimington Trophy as the top center in the nation.
This year, Mack anchors a Cal line that has allowed the Bears to rush for 180.0 ypg, including a 391-yard performance at Washington State - the school's highest total since 1991. In addition, Mack has helped the Cal line give up just 31 sacks in its last 31 games.
Four offensive players and eight defensive players were named to the semifinalist list. The Big 12 Conference leads the pack with four players, followed by the SEC and Pac 10 with three each. The 12 semifinalists are:
Brian Cushing, Linebacker, USC
Auston English, Defensive End, Oklahoma
James Laurinaitis, Linebacker, Ohio State
Alex Mack, Offensive Lineman, California
Rey Maualuga, Linebacker, USC
Michael Oher, Offensive Tackle, Mississippi
Brian Orakpo, Defensive End, Texas
Duke Robinson, Offensive Lineman, Oklahoma
George Selvie, Defensive End, South Florida
Andre Smith, Offensive Lineman, Alabama
Brandon Spikes, Linebacker, Florida
Sean Weatherspoon, Linebacker, Missouri
The winner of the 2008 award will be announced Dec. 10.