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March 27, 2007
Since Ohio State guard Jim Stillwagon was presented the first Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy in 1970, both honors have gone to the same person 10 times. The last dual winner was Ohio State tackle Orlando Pace in 1996.
An Outland Trophy contender is always a Lombardi Award contender, but not vice-versa. The primary difference between the two awards is that linebackers are eligible for the Lombardi, while the Outland is designated for interior linemen.
That said, seven of the last eight Lombardi recipients were linemen, and only seven linebackers have won the award in its 37-year history - the most recent being Ohio State's A.J. Hawk in 2005.
Therefore, the Rivals.com list of top 2007 Outland/Lombardi contenders will focus on interior linemen.
But we'll acknowledge a linebacker could receive the Lombardi Award. If that was the case the most likely winner would seem to be Ohio State's James Laurinaitis. Buckeyes seem to pop up everywhere when the Outland and Lombardi awards are discussed.