TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Rennie Curran of Georgia, Antonio Coleman of Auburn, Terrence Cody and Rolando McClain of Alabama and Brandon Lang of Troy are among the 48 players on the preliminary watch list for the 2009 Rotary Lombardi Award, which annually is given to the nation’s top down lineman or linebacker.
Curran, a rising junior linebacker, was named first-team All-SEC by the coaches and second team by the Associated Press in 2008. He earned Georgia’s Most Valuable Defensive Player Award after leading the team in tackles with 115 — the most by a Bulldog in 10 years. He team-highs in tackles for a loss (10) and sacks (three) along with two forced fumbles.
Coleman, a rising senior defensive end, earned first-team All-SEC honors by the league’s media and coaches in 2008 after registering 46 tackles, including team-highs of six quarterback sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss. He also had a team-high 13 quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and a pass break-up.
Cody, a rising senior nose guard, was a consensus All-America selection in 2008 after making 24 tackles with 4.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He was a semifinalist for the 2008 Chuck Bednarik Award and a unanimous first-team All-SEC choice.
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McClain, a rising junior middle linebacker, led the team last year in total tackles with 95 and tackles for loss with 12 (-45 yards). He also registered three sacks, one interception, six pass breakups, two quarterback hurries and two fumble recoveries, including one for a touchdown. The 2008 Butkus Award finalist was a first-team All-SEC selection by league coaches and the Associated Press while earning third-team All-America from the AP.
Lang, a rising senior defensive end, was first-team All-Sun Belt Conference last year after coming back from season-ending knee injury in 2007. He led Troy and was among the top 15 nationally in sacks (10.5) and tackles for loss (17.5). His tackles for loss set a new school record, previously held by Demarcus Ware, now with the Dallas Cowboys.