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Henderson on Lombardi Watch List

Aug. 12, 2004

Eric Henderson, Georgia Tech’s all-Atlantic Coast Conference defensive end, is on the preseason Watch List for the Rotary Lombardi Award, presented annually to college football’s top lineman.

Henderson, a junior from New Orleans, La., led the ACC with 11 sacks last fall while ranking second with 24 tackles for loss, a Tech season record. He is a preseason second-team all-America selection by Athlon Sports and Street & Smith’s magazines. He also earned Academic All-ACC honors in 2003.

The complete list of players on the Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List is available at the Rotary Lombardi website. The 113 members of the Watch List earned a place on the Watch List by earning All-American honors at the end of the 2003 or previous seasons, by being named to their respective All Conference team as selected by the conference’s head coaches, or by being named to one of the pre-season honor teams.

Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen and those defensive players who line up within five yards of the football. The Watch List includes 27 offensive tackles, 24 defensive ends, 20 linebackers, 13 centers, eight defensive tackles, seven offensive guards and four tight ends.

Henderson and the Yellow Jackets continue preseason drills with a pair of workouts Thursday, Tech’s second and final two-a-day. The Jackets open the season Sept. 4 against Samford.

“I feel like we’ve made strides in certain areas, especially the passing game, which is where we wanted to make strides early,” said Tech head coach Chan Gailey after watching the film of Wednesday’s scrimmage.

“We have to develop consistency on both sides of the ball and in our kicking game, especially our punting game. We have to work hard on our punting game in the next two weeks to get to where we need to be.”

Senior Andy Thomson and freshman Kyle Belcher are the primary candidates for the punting job. Belcher has a strong leg, but Thomson has the edge in experience after punting 24 times for a 39.8-yard average last fall.

Tech will hold its annual Fan Photo Day Sunday from 1-3 p.m. in the north concourse of Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field. The entire team and coach Gailey will be available for photos and autographs, and free Georgia Tech football posters will be distributed. Admission is free, and fans should enter at Bobby Dodd Stadium Gate 5.

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