Alabama Crimson Tide Lead Way with Three Lombardi Semifinalists

Here is the official release courtesy of UA Media Relations

Alabama’s Dont’a Hightower, Barrett Jones and Courtney Upshaw among 12 semifinalists
The second-ranked Alabama football team had three of the 12 semifinalists for the 2011 Rotary Lombardi Award it was announced on Friday with linebacker Dont’a Hightower, offensive tackle Barrett Jones and linebacker Courtney Upshaw making the cut.

Stanford is the only other team with multiple semifinalists with offensive guard David DeCastro and offensive tackle Jonathan Martin. Also making the list of semifinalists are Vinny Curry (Marshall), Melvin Ingram (South Carolina), Matt Kalil (USC), Luke Kuechly (Boston College), Whitney Mercilus (Illinois), Manti Te’o (Notre Dame) and Jerel Worth (Michigan State).

The coveted Lombardi Award, which is given 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. Four of the 12 semifinalists are from SEC schools. The winner will be announced on December 7, 2011, at the Reliant Center in Houston, Texas.

Hightower was named the Lott IMPACT National Player of the Week following his performance against Tennessee. He leads the team with 48 total tackles while making six tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He also has one interception, two pass breakups and six quarterback hurries.

Jones, who has played four positions along the offensive line this season, has started all eight games at left tackle. He has helped clear a path for Alabama’s 15th-ranked rushing offense that is churning out 229.25 yards per game while ranking 14th nationally in scoring offense at 39.38 points per game.

Upshaw leads the team and the Southeastern Conference with 11.5 tackles for loss (-54 yards) and 4.5 sacks (-35 yards). He has caused two fumbles, made 26 total tackles and intercepted one pass vs. Florida, which he returned for a touchdown. Upshaw also leads the team with seven quarterback hurries.

The Rotary Lombardi Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (“NCFAA”). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association’s official website,

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