March 10, 2008
University of South Carolina defensive end Eric Norwood is one of 54 players selected to the 2008 preliminary watch list for the Rotary Lombardi Award, it was announced today.
Norwood, a 6-1, 270-pound junior from Acworth, Ga., was tabbed first team All-SEC by the league’s coaches, second team All-SEC by the Associated Press and third team All-SEC by Phil Steele’s in 2007. A Freshman All-American in 2006, Norwood was second on the squad with 69 tackles during his sophomore season, including a school-record 19.5 tackles for loss. His 1.62 tackles for loss per game ranked third in the SEC and tied for seventh nationally. He also tied for first in the SEC with three fumble recoveries. Norwood had 6.0 sacks, which placed him 10th in the league. He was also credited with a team-high nine quarterback hurries and three pass breakups. A big-play performer, Norwood had a blocked punt and three fumble recoveries, two of which he returned for touchdowns. He was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week, the FWAA/Bronko Nagurski and the Master Coaches National Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts against Kentucky when he tied an NCAA record by returning two fumbles for touchdowns – scoring from two and from 53-yards out – registered five unassisted tackles including a tackle for loss, had two pass deflections and a quarterback hurry in the nationally-televised Thursday night win.
Norwood has played in all 25 games over the past two seasons, making a dozen starts. He ranks sixth on the school’s all-time list in career tackles for loss with 28.5, just 6.5 off the record total of 35 set by Andrew Provence. His 13.0 sacks rank eighth on the all-time list and are halfway to Provence’s school record of 26.0.
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 candidates earned a place on the preliminary watch list by earning All-American honors or by being named to their respective all-conference first team as selected by the conference’s head coaches. The Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List will be updated prior to the start of the 2008 season in order to identify those players who have been selected as pre-season honors candidates.
While the Watch List highlights players who have already received national recognition, any Division 1 player who meets the position requirements 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 Division 1 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.