May 8, 2001
HOUSTON - Arizona junior linbacker Lance Briggs, the leading returning tackler in the Pac-10 Conference, is on the Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List along with 51 other outstanding defensive linemen or linebackers.
Briggs, a 6-foot-1, 230-pound inside linebacker from Sacramento, Calif., led the team with 113 tackles in 2000 in his first season on defense after lettering as a true freshman fullback in 1999. He qualified for the Lombardi watch list by virtue of his first-team All-Pacific-10 Conference selection this past season.
In remarking on Briggs' skills following UA's spring practice, UA head coach John Mackovic said, "Some people say Lance makes all the tackles because our defense is designed for that purpose. But the fact is, every defense is designed that way, and Lance makes the plays."
Arizona's defense, under the direction of coordinator Larry Mac Duff, should be a team strength in 2001, and give Mackovic some necessary breathing room to continue the development of his multiple-pro passing attack. The Cats were 21st nationally in total defense in 2000, eighth in rushing defense and fifth in turnovers gained, and returns a nucleus of seven starters including Briggs and Freshman All-America cornerback Michael Jolivette.
The Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List is comprised of returning Division I college football players who meet the basic position requirements for the Award and who have earned either All-America or first-team all-conference recognition in a previous season. All-conference designations were limited to those voted upon by the coaches of each conference. Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen and those defenders who line up within five yards of the football. The award winner will be announced on Dec. 5 in ceremonies in Houston.
A total of 44 schools are represented on the 52-man list, which will be systematically evaluated by the approximate 300 members of the selection committee and trimmed to a group of 12 finalists in November.
Now in its 32nd year of honoring the top lineman in Division I football, the Rotary Lombardi Award Dinner has raised over $2.5 million for The American Cancer Society since it was first held in 1970. Table sales for the 2001 Lombardi Award Dinner are currently under way. For more information about participating in, or supporting the 2001 Dinner as a sponsor, please call the Rotary Office (713) 973-9936 or visit rotarylombardiaward.com.