May 26, 2006
Park Ridge, Ill. -A total of five Big Ten football standouts have been named to the preseason watch lists for the 2006 Rotary Lombardi Award and the Dave Rimington Trophy. The Lombardi Award annually recognizes the best lineman in college football, while the Rimington Trophy honors the most outstanding center.
The Big Ten boasted four standouts on the Lombardi Award watch list in Minnesota tight end Matt Spaeth, Penn State's Levi Brown (offensive lineman) and Paul Posluszny (linebacker) and Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas. Last year, Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk won the Lombardi Award, becoming the seventh Big Ten standout to earn this honor. Posluszny was also a finalist for the award last season, while Thomas was a semifinalist in 2005.
Michigan senior Mark Bihl was one of 39 student-athletes named to the Rimington Trophy watch list. A Big Ten player has claimed the Rimington Trophy three times, most recently when Minnesota offensive lineman Greg Eslinger was honored last season.
The Lombardi will be handed out on December 6, while the winner of the Rimington Trophy will be announced in January of 2007.
Some of the players listed above will be featured at the 2006 Football Media Days and 35th annual Kickoff Luncheon, which will be held on Tuesday-Wednesday, Aug. 1-2, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. The 111th season of Big Ten football kicks off on Thursday, Aug. 31, with Minnesota battling Kent State and Northwestern playing Miami (Ohio). The remaining league teams take the field on Saturday, Sept. 2, for non-conference action.