Nation's top lineman to be chosen Wednesday

Updated: December 9, 2003, 8:52 PM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- Shawn Andrews is proving his point about offensive linemen.

He's been a standout tackle for Arkansas all season and he'll be among the four finalists for the Vince Lombardi Award that will be presented Wednesday night to the nation's top college lineman.

"I wanted to be one of those guys, regardless of my position, to put offensive linemen on the map and be a stepping stone for the offensive linemen that might come to Arkansas and for the ones already there," Andrews said Tuesday.

The other finalists are all defensive linemen, Dave Ball of UCLA, Tommie Harris of Oklahoma and David Pollack of Georgia.

"I think we're one of the biggest factors in the game," Andrews said. "Without an offensive line, there's no quarterback to be up for the Heisman or a running back. You [offensive line] play a big role in the development of a team."

Harris was a finalist last year when the award went to Arizona State defensive end Terrell Suggs. He doesn't think he has an advantage because the Sooners were ranked No. 1 most of the season.

"I kind of want it to be they pick a winner not because you're No. 1 or anything like that but on the player's abilities and what he can do on the field, that's how it should be," Harris said.

Harris and Andrews are juniors who must decide if they'll return to college for their senior seasons or turn pro.

"We're going to get together and talk about it and we'll let you know," Harris said.

Andrews will do the same with his mom, Linda, who raised three sons alone. He'd like to repay her for her hard work.

"That would be the best feeling in the world," Andrews said. "I could never repay her with any amount of money they could pay me at the next level, but I could get her out of that little house and do some of the things I've always wanted to do for her."

Pollack ranks fifth in Georgia history with 19.5 career sacks. He led the Bulldogs with a season-high 13 tackles against Florida and was the Southeastern Conference defensive player of the week after he had two sacks, two pass deflections, two quarterback hurries and eight tackles against Tennessee.

Ball is a fifth year senior who has emerged as a top defensive end this season for the Bruins. He had 3 1-2 sacks in the second half of UCLA's comeback victory over Washington.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press