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Oct. 14, 2009

University of South Carolina senior linebacker Eric Norwood is one of 12 semifinalists named for the 2009 Rotary Lombardi Award, it was announced today by the Rotary Club of Houston.

Norwood, a 6-1, 252-pounder from Acworth, Ga., is a two-time first-team All-SEC selection. He is the SEC active leader in both career sacks (28.0) and career tackles for loss (49.5) and is the South Carolina career leader in both categories. He leads the SEC in sacks this season with 6.0 and is third in the league in tackles for loss while leading the Gamecocks in tackles. He has played in all 44 games over the past four seasons, making 31 consecutive starts.

Since 1970, the Rotary Lombardi Award has been presented annually to the nation’s top college football lineman (offense or defense) who, in addition to outstanding performance and ability, best exemplifies the discipline of Vince Lombardi. In alphabetical order, the 12 semifinalists are:

Terrence Cody, Alabama, NG, #62, Sr., 6-5, 365, Ft. Myers, FL

Rennie Curran, Georgia, LB, #35, Jr., 5-11, 228, Snellville, GA

Carlos Dunlap, Florida, DE, #8, Jr., 6-6, 290, North Charleston, SC

Jerry Hughes, TCU, DE, #98, Sr., 6-3, 257, Sugar Land, TX

Rolando McClain, Alabama, LB, #25, Jr., 6-4, 258, Decatur, AL

Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma, #93, DT, Jr., 6-4, 297, Oklahoma City, OK

Eric Norwood, South Carolina, LB, #40, Sr., 6-1, 252, Acworth, GA

Russell Okung, Oklahoma State, LT, #76, Sr., 6-5, 300, Houston, TX

George Selvie, South Florida, DE, #95, Sr., 6-4, 250, Pensacola, FL

Brandon Spikes, Florida, LB, #51, Sr., 6-3, 258, Shelby, NC

Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska, DT, #93, Sr., 6-4, 300, Portland, OR

Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri, LB, #12, Sr., 6-2, 245, Jasper, TX

On Nov. 10, the four finalists will be announced. All of the finalists will travel to Houston for the ceremony to announce the winner on Dec. 9. Former Green Bay Packers standouts Bart Starr and Jerry Kramer will participate in the 2009 Rotary Lombardi Award ceremonies as will Vince Lombardi Jr., the son of the award’s namesake.

The voters for the Rotary Lombardi Award consist of all head coaches of NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams, all of the former winners and finalists of the Rotary Lombardi Award, and selected members of the media.

The Rotary Club of Houston founded the Rotary Lombardi Award in 1970, in the weeks following the death of legendary football coach Vince Lombardi from cancer. The 40th Rotary Lombardi Award dinner will be held on December 9, 2009, at the Hilton Americas Hotel. Net proceeds from the event benefit the American Cancer Society. For more information call the Rotary Club of Houston at 713-973-9936 or visit the website at