Dick Butkus said the voting was close for the winner of the award that is named for him. Could it be…
McClain Named Top College Linebacker
Rolando McClain leads Alabama with 101 tackles this season, including 12.5 tackles for loss (-58 yards) and four sacks (-36 yards). The Decatur native added 14 quarterback pressures, three pass breakups, two interceptions (21 return yards) and forced one fumble.
Alabama is ranked number one in the nation.
A 2009 team captain and Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, McClain anchors an Alabama defense that leads the nation in scoring defense (11.0 ppg) and pass efficiency defense (88.81 rating) and ranks second in rushing defense (77.9 ypg) and total defense (241.69 ypg). The Tide is also seventh nationally in pass defense (177.82 ypg).
The Crimson Tide led the SEC in rushing defense, total defense, scoring defense and pass efficiency defense, and ranks second in passing defense heading into its BCS National Championship Game matchup with number two Texas on Thursday, January 7, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
A three-time national defensive player of the week, McClain recorded double figure tackles against Florida International (10), Kentucky (12), Mississippi State (11) and Auburn (12). In addition to his 12 tackles in a 38-20 win at Kentucky on Oct. 3, McClain was also responsible for three of the Crimson Tide's four takeaways in the game, which resulted in 17 points.
McClain is the first Alabama linebacker to win the Lambert Award since its inception in 1991. The award is named for former Kent State standout and Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Famer, Jack Lambert. The award will be presented during the 55th Touchdown Club of Columbus Sports Award Banquet on February 6, 2010.
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