Aug. 26, 2008
Georgia Tech senior offensive tackle Andrew Gardner and senior defensive tackle Vance Walker have been named to the 2008 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List. The 39th annual Rotary Lombardi Award, presented by Wachovia, honoring the top lineman in the Football Bowl Subdivision and benefiting the American Cancer Society, will be presented in Houston on December 10 at the Hilton Americas Hotel.
Gardner was a first-team All-ACC performer at offensive tackle last year and should be considered one of the nation’s top offensive linemen in 2008. He was a key reason why Tech ranked first in the ACC in rushing and ranked near the top of the ACC in fewest sacks allowed in 2007. Earlier this summer, he was named to the preseason All-ACC team.
Walker is coming off a 2007 campaign where he was a first team All-ACC pick. He also earned Rivals.com First Team All-ACC honors and was a Third-Team AP and Rivals.com All-American. Walker was one of the top defensive linemen in the ACC and emerged in 2007 as an outstanding run stopper and pass-rusher. He led Tech with 8.5 sacks and also had 14 tackles-for-loss, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Walker was also a preseason All-ACC selection.
The new players were added to the Watch List based on various pre-season honors and nominations from the schools’ Sports Information Directors. Although the 113 players now on the Watch List are representative of the nation’s top football linemen, the list is not intended to serve as the actual ballot when first round voting begins in late September.
While the Watch List highlights players who have already received national recognition, any Football Bowl Subdivision player who meets the basic award criteria – a down lineman on either side of the ball, including tight ends, and linebackers who line up within five yards of the ball – is eligible for consideration from the Rotary Lombardi Selection Committee. This committee is comprised of more than 500 members, including all past winners and finalists, all Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches and a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. The Rotary Lombardi Watch List, intended as a reference tool for the Selection Committee, will be periodically updated and revised through the conclusion of the voting to determine the 12 Semifinalists for 2008.
In a repeat of last year, this year’s list has more defensive players than offensive players. There are 64 defensive players and 49 offensive players.