Esling University of Minnesota center Greg Eslinger is one of 54 players to be selected to the 2004 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List. Eslinger, who was a third-team selection on the Associated Press All-America Team last season, will be a junior this fall.
The 54 preliminary candidates earned a place on the initial watch list by earning All-American honors at the end of the 2003 season or in previous seasons, or by being named to their respective all-conference team as selected by the conference's head coaches.
Last season, Eslinger became the first Gopher All-American since center Ben Hamilton and punter Preston Gruening were honored following the 2000 season. Eslinger is the fifth player to earn All-America status under head coach Glen Mason since his tenure began at Minnesota in 1997.
Eslinger was also named to the Sports Illustrated.com All-America Team in 2003. He was a second-team selection on the offensive line and was the only sophomore on either the first or second-team offensive line. He also became the first Minnesota center to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors since Ben Hamilton in 2000.
In 2003, Eslinger helped pave the way for the most prolific Gopher offense in school history. The Bismarck, N.D., native contributed to an offensive line which set school records in 2003 for total offense (494.6 ypg), rushing offense (289.2 ypg), rushing touchdowns (46), scoring (38.7 ppg), touchdowns (66), yards per play (6.6), 500-yard games (7) and 200-yard rushing games (11).
2003 LOMBARDI AWARD WATCH LIST Anthony Alabi, TCU Calvin Armstrong, Wash. St. Brian Atkinson, No. Illinois Andy Avalos, Boise State Adrian Awasom, North Texas Alex Barron, Florida State David Bass, Michigan Michael Boley, Southern Miss Andy Brewster, North Texas Wesley Britt, Alabama C.J. Brooks, Maryland Jammal Brown, Oklahoma Nick Bunting, Tulsa Vince Carter, Oklahoma Andrew Clarke, Toledo Dan Cody, Oklahoma Shaun Cody, USC Trent Cole, Cincinnati Ryan Cook, New Mexico Harvey Dahl, Nevada Will Derting, Washington St. Dusty Dvoracek, Oklahoma Greg Eslinger, Minnesota Matt Grootegoed, USC Marquis Harris, Colorado A.J. Hawk, Ohio State Eric Henderson, Georgia Tech Matt Herian, Nebraska Leroy Hill, Clemson Derrick Johnson, Texas Nick Kaczur, Toledo Mathias Kiwanuka, Boston Coll Jamus Martin, Marshall Heath Miller, Virginia Garrett Mills, Tulsa Kirk Morrison, San Diego State Scott Mruczkowski, BGSU Michael Munoz, Tennessee Mike Patterson, USC Erik Pears, Colorado State Rob Petitti, Pittsburgh David Pollack, Georgia Brady Poppinga, BYU Julius Roberts, Boise State Matt Roth, Iowa Adam Seward, UNLV Adam Snyder, Oregon Steve Subia, New Mexico State Kyle Takavitz, Cincinnati Claude Terrell, New Mexico Odell Thurman, Georgia Jake VerStraete, No. Illinois Eric Winston, Miami Zac Woodfin, UAB