Gronkowski on Early National Radar

March 2, 2009

HOUSTON--University of Arizona junior tight end Rob Gronkowski has been named to the preliminary watch list for the 2009 RotaryLombardi Award.

Gronkowski is among 48 players named to the list for the honor, won by Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo last season.

Three semi-finalists returning to this year's list are South Florida defensivelineman George Selvie, Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes and Missouri linebackerSean Weatherspoon.

Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen and thosedefensive players who line up within five yards of the football. The candidatesearned a place on the preliminary watch list by earning All-American honors or bybeing named to their respective all-conference first team as selected by theconference's head coaches.

The Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List will beupdated prior to the start of the 2009 season in order to identify those players whohave been selected as pre-season honors candidates.

Gronkowski has 75 career receptions and last year posted 43 for 672 yards and 10 scores in earning third-team AP All-America honors and the first-team All-Pac-10 award. He holds Arizona single-game, single-season and career records for tight ends in catches, yards and touchdowns.

The Watch List highlights those players who have already received nationalrecognition, although others may selected by the award committee during the season. Arizona coaches feel senior defensive tackle Earl Mitchell and junior defensive end Brooks Reed may earn their way into honors contention in 2009, with UA anticipating a strong defensive front that should be 10 deep across the four positions.

The Lombardi Award committee is comprised of more than 500 members, including all past winners and finalists, all Division 1-A head coaches and a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.

The complete Rotary Lombardi Award Preliminary Watch List for 2009 follows:

Kevin Basped, DL, NevadaZane Beadles, OL, UtahNick Bellore, LB, Central MichiganNavorro Bowman, LB, Penn StateBrad Bustle, OL, University of Louisiana at LafayetteNate Byham, TE, PittsburghAlex Carrington, DE, Arkansas StateBrandon Carter, OL, Texas TechTer rence Cody, DL, AlabamaAntonio Coleman, DE, AuburnJared Cook, TE, South CarolinaRennie Curran, LB, GeorgiaJohn Estes, OL, HawaiiChris Fisher, C, University of Louisiana at LafayetteRob Gronkowski, TE, ArizonaMark Herzlich, LB, Boston CollegeRodney Hudson, OG, Florida StateJerry Hughes, DE, TCUDuke Ihenacho, LB, San Jose StateCardia Jackson, LB, University of Louisiana at MonroeMicah Johnson, LB, KentuckyArthur Jones, DT, SyracuseGreg Jones, LB, Michigan StateJan Jorgensen, DL, BYUSergio Kindle, LB, TexasBrandon Lang, DE, TroyBoris Lee, LB, TroyRolando McClain, LB, AlabamaAlbert McClellan, DE, MarshallGerald McCoy, DL, OklahomaEric Norwood, LB, South CarolinaKristofer O'Dowd, C, USCJared Odrick, DT, Penn StateRussell Okung, OL, Oklahoma StateJoe Pawelek, LB, BaylorBrian Price, DT, UCLAAustin Pritchard, LB, Western MichiganAdam Ulatoski, OT, TexasGeorge Selvie, DE, South FloridaCameron Sheffield, DE, TroyD'Anthony Smith, DL, Louisiana TechBrandon Spikes, LB, FloridaSean Weatherspoon, LB, MissouriTrent Williams, OL, OklahomaC.J. Wilson, DE, East CarolinaRyan Winterswyck, DL, Boise StateCorey Wootton, DE, NorthwesternFrank Zombo, DE, Central Michigan

The 40th Rotary Lombardi Award dinner will be held on Dec. 9 in Houston.

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