Three Cougs Listed as Lombardi Award Candidates

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PROVO, Utah -- The Executive Committee of the Rotary Lombardi Award has named Manaia Brown, Cameron Jensen and Jake Kuresa to their official Watch List. Brown, Jensen and Kuresa are three of 123 players that have been named to the list.

The Cougars own the distinction of being just one of 12 schools in the nation with three or more candidates for the Rotary Lombardi Award.

The Lombardi Award, in its 36th year, honors the finest lineman in college football. This year's Watch List includes 58 offensive and 63 defensive players. To be eligible for the award, a player may play on the line of scrimmage (including tight ends on offense) or must be a linebacker who lines up within five yards of the ball.

Brown is entering his third season with the Cougars and played all 11 games as a junior in 2004, starting eight. Brown earned All-Mountain West Honorable Mention honors while recording 26 tackles including 12 solos. He was third on the team with 9.0 tackles for a combined loss of 48 yards and added 4.5 quarterback sacks. Brown has been named a Preseason All-MWC candidate by several publications and is ranked as the second top NFL prospect in the MWC by Lindy's Football Annuals.

This is the second watch list Jensen has been named to in 2005, also earning a spot on the Bronko Nagurski watch list. Jensen had a breakout season in 2004, starting all 11 games in his first season with the Cougars and leading the team in total tackles with 103, solo tackles with 49 and assisted tackles with 54. His 12.0 tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries tied him for first on the team and he added two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown against UNLV. Jensen also set his career high in total tackles against the Rebels with 12. He has been named a Preseason All-MWC candidate by several publications and is ranked as the second best linebacker in the MWC by College Football News.

This is also the second watch list recognition for Kuresa, having been named to the Outland Trophy list as well. He has been a mainstay in the Cougar offensive line since his redshirt-freshman season in 2003. That year he started all 12 games and saw action at both guard and tackle, earning offensive lineman-of-the-game honors four times. As a sophomore in 2004, Kuresa started all 11 games and helped anchor a BYU offense that averaged 24.3 points, 105.8 yards rushing and 279.5 yards passing per game. Along with his nomination to the Outland Trophy Watch List, Kuresa is a 2005 Preseason Mountain West All-Conference selection and a Street & Smith's Preseason honorable mention All-American.

The members of the Lombardi Award Watch List earned their place by earning All-America or All-Conference honors at the end of 2004 or by being named to one of the preseason honor teams. Additional players will be added to the list, based on performance, prior to the start of the first round of voting at the end of September.

Brown joins six other Cougars who have been named to watch lists, including: Senior Todd Watkins (Biletnikoff Award), junior linebacker Cameron Jensen (Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award), senior offensive lineman Lance Reynolds (Rimington Trophy), junior offensive lineman Jake Kuresa (Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award), junior tight end Daniel Coats (Mackey Award) and junior quarterback John Beck (Davey O'Brien Award).

Written by BYU Athletic Communications

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