Chris Long # DE
Height: 6-3 Weight: 268 Age: 31
Born: 3/28/1985 Santa Monica , CA
Experience: 9th season
High School: St. Anne's Belfield School [Charlottesville, VA]
Selected By: St. Louis Rams
Pick (Overall): 2 (2)
Regarded by many as one of the most dominant defensive players in college football entering his senior season, Long more than lived up to those expectations, terrorizing opposing quarterbacks to the tune of 14 sacks, 23 pressures, nine pass break-ups and an interception in 2007. He also caused a pair of fumbles on sacks that Virginia recovered, leading to Cavaliers scores.
Named the Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year and the recipient of the Ted Hendricks Award (nation's top defensive end), Long has certainly emerged from the shadows of his father, former Oakland Raiders defensive end and Hall of Famer, Howie Long. "You want to talk about a chip off the old block? This is a young man that plays absolutely lights-out football," North Carolina head coach Butch Davis said. "Chris Long has to be one of the premier defensive linemen in the country."
Virginia head coach Al Groh also had nothing but rave reviews on Long, stating, "It's hard to imagine there being a better player at any position than Chris Long. A guy would have to be one of the Transformers to be better than Chris. When you've got one of the best players the school's ever had and he's only interested in helping the team win, it puts an exclamation point on what you're trying to do." Groh was amazed that Chris did not receive more Heisman Trophy consideration: "If they're ever going to invite a defensive player to New York in December for the Heisman Trophy presentation, you'd have to think it was Chris Long."
Long was well-known to college recruiters, especially after a stellar career at St. Anne's-Belfield School, where competed on both lines for the state champion squad. The Super Prep and Prep Star All-American received a four-star prospect rating from Rivals.com, a service that rated him the sixth-best defensive end in the prep ranks. Tom Lemming ranked him eighth in the country at defensive end and College Football News placed him 11th at that position.
Long was a member of Rival.com's Atlantic East Amazing-80 team and he was an honorable mention All-South choice by the Orlando Sentinel. He was named 2003 Gatorade Player of the Year in Virginia and rated as the second-best player in Virginia by the Charlottesville Daily Progress "Gold List," third by the Roanoke Times and fourth by Super Prep and Rivals.com. He was also a three-time first-team All-State selection on offense and defense.
The Central Virginia Defensive Player of the Year by the Daily Progress as a senior, Long was a three-time first-team All-Central Virginia defensive lineman by the Charlottesville Daily Progress and earned first-team All-Central Virginia honors his senior season as an offensive lineman as well. He was selected Conference Defensive Player of the Year his final two seasons and was selected Student Sports Junior All-American in 2002.
Long registered 91 tackles (44 solos) as a senior to help lead his team to an undefeated season and the state championship, as he had 23 tackles for loss and 15 sacks that season. He also recorded 72 pancake blocks on offense. As a junior, he posted 85 tackles with 12 sacks and more than 20 tackles for loss. The three-time first-team All-Conference choice finished his career with 43 sacks and 66 tackles for loss. He also played basketball, lacrosse, and baseball during his high school career, winning the 2003 YMCA Slam Dunk Contest for high school students.
Long would hold the rare distinction of having his jersey retired at St. Anne's Belfield School and also at the University of Virginia, where he played in six games during his freshman year in 2004. He posted five tackles with an 8-yard sack before being sidelined due to a bout of mononucleosis.
As a sophomore, Long took over right defensive end duties, starting all 12 games. He totaled 46 tackles (22 solos) with 1.5 sacks and had 7.5 stops for losses, along with 26 pressures and seven pass deflections in 752 plays. In 2006, he earned All-State honors, helping the team rank 17th in the nation, allowing just 289.5 yards per game in total offense. He collected 57 tackles (32 solos) with 4.5 sacks, adding 9.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage to go with 21 pressures in 715 defensive snaps.
As a senior, Long received countless postseason honors, including consensus first-team All-American and unanimous All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team accolades. He ranked second on the team with 79 tackles (36 solos). The defensive captain tied for third in the nation with 14 sacks and was 14th nationally with 19 stops for losses. He had 23 pressures with an interception and nine pass deflections while blocking one kick and causing two fumbles.
In 43 games at Virginia, Long started 37 times. He recorded 187 tackles (93 solos) with 70 quarterback pressures, three forced fumbles, a 25-yard interception return and 17 pass deflections. He ranks tied for seventh in school history with 21 sacks for minus-171 yards and is sixth all-time in Virginia annals with 38 stops for losses totaling 211 yards. He also blocked one kick while participating in 2,432 defensive plays.