TUSCALOOSA _ University of Alabama senior nose tackle Terrence Cody was named one of four finalists Tuesday for the Rotary Lombardi Award, which goes to the nation's top interior lineman or linebacker.
However, he was the only one after teammate Rolando McClain was a semifinalist who didn't make the cut.
"It means a lot," said Cody, whose eyes lit up at the question following Tuesday's practice. "Not a lot of guys get picked for an award like this. I'm real happy to be in the top four. It's a blessing. I'm really representing our team because you don't get honors like this unless you have success as a team."
Alabama has won the award once, Cornelius Bennett in 1986, and Cody is the seventh finalist.
The other finalists are TCU senior defensive end Jerry Hughes, Oklahoma junior defensive end Gerald McCoy and Nebraska senior defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who will likely be the favorite.
The other semifinalists were Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran, Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap, South Carolina linebacker Scott Norwood, Oklahoma State left tackle Russell Okung, South Florida defensive end George Selvie, Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes, and Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.
Cody has 20 tackles, including five for a loss, with two blocked kicks against Tennessee, two quarterback pressures and one pass breakup. Alabama has allowed 68.2 rushing yards per game, which ranks second nationally, and is fourth in total defense (242.2 yards) and sixth in scoring (10.1 points).
The winner will be announced Dec. 9. The selection committee is comprised of nearly 500 voters, including all Division-I head coaches, all past finalists of the award and a selection of writers and broadcasters from around the country.
Here's how Alabama players look regarding all the major national awards:
Heisman Trophy: Finalists announced Dec. 9.
Maxwell Award (outstanding player): Mark Ingram, semifinalist. Finalists announced Nov. 23.
Walter Camp Award (Player of the year): Semifinalists announced Nov. 17.
Butkus Award (linebacker): McClain, semifinalist. Finalists announced Nov. 19.
Outland Trophy (interior lineman): Cody and Mike Johnson on watch list. Finalists announced Nov. 23.
Bednarik Award (defensive player): Cody and McClain, semifinalists. Finalists announced Nov. 23.
Davey O'Brien Award (quarterback): No semifinalists.
Unitas Golden Arm (senior quarterback): Alabama has one who qualifies.
Doak Walker Award (running back): Semifinalists announced Thursday. Ingram on watch list.
Fred Biletnikoff Award (wide receiver): No semifinalists. Julio Jones was on the watch list.
Jim Thorpe Award (defensive back): Javier Arenas, semifinalist. Finalists announced Nov. 23.
John Mackey Award (tight end): Semifinalists announced Nov. 16.
Lou Groza Award (kicker): Leigh Tiffin, semifinalist. Finalists announced Nov. 23.
Bronki Nagusrki Award (defensive player): Finalists announced Nov. 19. Arenas, Cody and McClain are all on the watch list.
Ray Guy Award (punter): Semifinalists announced Nov. 13.
Rotary Lombard Award (lineman): Cody finalist. Winner announced Dec. 9.
Ted Hendricks Awards (defensive end): Midseason watch list announced in mid-November. No Alabama players were on the preseason watch list.
Rimington Trophy (center): Finalists announced Nov. 23.
Eddie Robinson Award (coach): Finalists announced Dec. 9.
George Munger Award (coach): Nick Saban, semifinalist. Finalists announced Nov. 23.
Broyles Award (assistant coach): Finalists announced Nov. 30.
Walter Campbell Trophy (scholar-athlete, formerly known as the Draddy Trophy): No finalists. Colin Peek was a semifinalist.
Junior running back Terry Grant (muscle strain), freshman cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (muscle strain) and senior tight end Colin Peek (sprained knee) all practiced as the team worked inside the Hank Crisp Facility on Tuesday.
Of note, during a drill reporters were allowed to observe, safety Ali Sharrief was shadowing linebacker Cory Remaer with the first unit in a nickel package.
Guard Barrett Jones on the continuity of the line: "Every group has its own cohesiveness and the way to that is though communication. We've definitely gotten a lot better at that and as a result have made a lot fewer errors." Ironically, the only starter on the offensive line who has not been named player of the week by
Saturday's game at Mississippi State will feature the SEC's top two running backs. Ingram leads the league with a 127.6 average, while Antony Dixon is second at 125.1. "They are a pretty tough team," Cody said. "They put their mind to running the ball and they try and run the ball at you as many times as they can. They are real physical up front and have some tough running backs."
Cody thought he came close to blocking the punt the last time he was on the coverage team against LSU. "I thought they were just going to punt it, but they started sliding," Cody said.
"As they were sliding I got right behind the guy who was supposed to be protecting and the ball was right there. All I had to do was stick my hand out."
While reporters recently learned of Ingram's prowess on the golf course, the last time he went bowling over the summer he scored 246. "Most everything I do, I try and be the best at it."