Both vital components of Auburn's undefeated 13-0 SEC Championship team in 2004, McNeill and Williams have been starters for the Tigers for the last two seasons and McNeill started much of his freshman year.
The Lombardi Award is given annually to college football's top lineman, with both offensive and defensive players eligible. Defensive players who line up within five yards of the line of the football are also eligible for the award.
McNeill, a senior from Decatur, Ga., earned Coaches' All-SEC First-Team honors last season and was an Associated Press All-SEC First Team member. He started all 13 games last season, and was named the Southeastern Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week for his performance in Auburn's 42-10 victory over Kentucky on Oct. 23. In that game, he graded 97 percent overall with four pancake blocks.
Travis Williams excelled in his first season as a starter at middle linebacker.
Williams racked up a team-leading 80 tackles last season, 58 of which were solo. He finished with nine and a half tackles for loss, just half a tackle shy of tying for the team lead, and ended the season with two sacks. He also picked off two interceptions and was credited with five quarterback hurries.
For his efforts, Williams, a senior from Columbia, S.C., was named to the Coaches' All-SEC First Team and was honored as an Associated Press All-SEC First Team selection.
Fifty-four players have been named to the initial watch list. Those players have earned a place on the watch list by earning All-America honors at the end of the 2004 season or by being named to an All-Conference team as selected by that league's coaches.
Past finalists, all Division I head coaches as well as a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters comprise the Rotary Lombardi Selection Committee. The watch list will be revised and updated throughout the season. The watch list will also be updated prior to the 2005 season.
The 36th Lombardi Award winner will be presented with his trophy Dec. 7 at the Hilton Americas Hotel in Houston, Tex.