Rookie linebacker Patrick Willis is one of five finalists for the NFL.com Rookie of the Year award.
Willis led the NFL with 174 tackles this year, including 135 solo tackles, tops among all NFL players. Willis also totaled four sacks, two forced fumbles, one recovered fumble and five passes defensed throughout the season. One of his best games was against NFC South champion Tampa Bay (12-23) when he recorded 20 tackles (12 solo), 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and a pass defensed. It was Willis' first career solo sacks, his first career multi-sack game, and his first career 20-plus tackle game. His forced fumble, caused on a 1-yard sack in the third quarter at the Tampa Bay 10-yard line, resulted in a 5-yard touchdown pass from Shaun Hill to Vernon Davis.
Willis, who attended the University of Mississippi, was nominated for five NFL Rookie of the Week awards, winning four times.
Fans can vote for Willis on NFL.com from January 3 through 6:00 PM EST on January 28.
In addition, for the third year, NFL fans may cast their votes using phones with Sprint wireless service - an opportunity available only to Sprint customers. This fast, convenient voting method involves texting the word PEPSI to short code 7777. Sprint customers will then receive an interactive text message that links fans to the ballot with the five finalists. Data and text messaging rates may apply.
The winner will be presented the award during a press conference in Arizona, the site of Super Bowl XLII, on Thursday, January 31, 2008.