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Spielman, Ohio State Linebacker, Is Winner of the Lombardi Award

December 04, 1987|United Press International

HOUSTON — Ohio State linebacker Chris Spielman, a finalist for the 1986 Lombardi Award, Thursday night won the 1987 Lombardi trophy as the top collegiate lineman in the nation.

Spielman, a 6-foot 2-inch, 236-pound native of Massilon, Ohio, finished his career with 546 tackles, third highest in school history. This past season, he had 156 tackles, 78 solo, 10 sacks and 2 interceptions.

Fired Ohio State Coach Earle Bruce called him "the most intense player I have ever seen" and praised his ability to make great plays in critical situations.

Spielman was the third player from Ohio State to win the award. The first Lombardi went to Jim Stillwagon in 1970. In 1973, it was won by John Hicks.

The other three finalists this year were Oklahoma tight end Keith Jackson, Syracuse nose guard Ted Gregory and Auburn defensive tackle Tracy Rocker, the only junior.

The winner was named at the 18th Lombardi Award dinner, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Houston. The award is named after coach Vince Lombardi, who died of cancer. Proceeds from the dinner benefited the American Cancer Society.

Jackson was the second tight end to be a finalist for the award. He caught only 13 passes but averaged 27.5 yards a catch.

Gregory, who missed all but two games last season and again was injured this year, helped Syracuse climb to No. 1 against the run from 105th. When he went out, the Orangemen dropped to No. 14.

Rocker was injured after his seventh game, but had 75 tackles and was Auburn's defensive player of the year in 1986. He has 254 career tackles.

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