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Ryans Named Semifinalist for Lombardi Award


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The University of Alabama's DeMeco Ryans was announced today as one of 12 semi-finalist for 36th Rotary Lombardi Award, presented by Wachovia Bank.
A four-year starter at linebacker for the Crimson Tide, Ryans has played in all 44 games in his career.  In 44 career games, he has recorded 272 tackles, with 26 TFLs (-83) and 5 sacks (-42). He has 272 career tackles and is currently 8th all-time at Alabama and he is second among active SEC defenders with 272 career tackles.

Ryans currently leads the team in tackles with 41.  He's tied for the team high in tackles for a loss with 7.5 (-44).  He's also recorded 3.5 sacks (-31), two pass breakups; two quarterback pressures, forced a fumble and recovered another fumble.

Ryans has been honored once this year as the Southeastern Conference's Defensive Player of the Week after his performance against Arkansas on September 24 (15 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 1 FR, 1 QBP).

A standout student, Ryans will graduate this December in just seven semesters. He is a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection and a 2004 Academic All-America selection. He has also been twice named the captain of the "High Tide" Club, which is awarded by head coach Mike Shula and UA Director of Academics Jon Dever. The members of the "High Tide" Club are selected based on the highest grade point averages on the football squad.

The Rotary Lombardi Award goes annually to the college football lineman -- offense or defense -- who, in addition to outstanding performance and ability, best exemplifies the discipline of Vince Lombardi.

Other semifinalists include Elvis Dumervil (DE, Louisville), Greg Eslinger (C, Minnesota), D'Brickshaw Ferguson (OT, Virginia), Spencer Havner (LB, UCLA), A.J. Hawk (LB, Ohio State), Mathias Kiwanuka (DE, Boston College), Jesse Mahelona (DT, Tennessee), Paul Posluszny (LB, Penn State), Joe Thomas (OT, Wisconsin), Eric Winston (OT, Miami) and Rod Wright (DT, Texas).

This year's class of semifinalists includes eight defensive players and four offensive linemen.  The Big Ten Conference leads the way with four semifinalists, followed by the ACC with three and the SEC with a pair.  The Big XII, Big East and Pac-10 each have one player on the list.   Louisville is the only one of the 12 schools represented who has not produced a previous finalist for the award.

Founded in the weeks following the death of legendary football coach Vince Lombardi from cancer in 1970, the Rotary Lombardi Award presented by Wachovia Bank has annually delivered upon the mission set forth by Marie Lombardi when she first granted the use of her late husband's name. Her only stipulation was that all net proceeds from the event be donated to the American Cancer Society and over $3.1 million has been generated since that time.

This year's Rotary Lombardi Award is being presented by Wachovia Bank, which earlier this month announced a two-year presentation sponsorship agreement with the Rotary Club of Houston Foundation to support the event and its fund raising component.

The Rotary Club of Houston, in operation since 1912, is an association of more than 350 successful business professionals, all prominent in their individual fields of endeavor, who volunteer their efforts through the work of some two dozen club committees.
Assistance is provided to such diverse groups as troubled youngsters, former prison inmates, business oriented high school students, families of cancer patients, deserving college scholarship candidates and the nation's cancer research efforts. The club's most recent community project is the East End Healthy Children's Collaborative which provides much needed access to primary health care for residents on Houston's East side.