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Thursday, November 11, 2010
Adrian Clayborn a Lombardi Award finalist

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Iowa senior defensive end Adrian Clayborn has been named one of four finalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award, given to college football's top lineman.

Clayborn and the three other finalists -- Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers, Auburn's Nick Fairley and TCU's Jake Kirkpatrick -- will spend two days in Houston next month before the winner is announced Dec. 8. The Iowa standout has recorded 40 tackles this season, with six tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble, a blocked kick and four quarterback hurries.

Three other Big Ten players -- Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, Ohio State defensive lineman Cameron Heyward and Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones -- had been named Lombardi Award semifinalists.

Clayborn is a terrific player with a bright future, and while his numbers this season haven't matched last year's, he's facing more double teams from opponents.

I was very disappointed not to see Kerrigan among the finalists.

Much like Michigan's Brandon Graham in 2009, Kerrigan is having an exceptional season but paying the price for being on a mediocre team. He has been the most outstanding defensive player in the Big Ten this fall, hands down.

Former Michigan defensive end LaMarr Woodley was the Big Ten's last Rotary Lombardi Award winner, taking home the hardware in 2006.