Tapp Named Lott Trophy Finalist
Senior one of three up for the award
December 1, 2005

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - Darryl Tapp of Virginia Tech has been named one of three finalists for the second annual Lott Trophy presented by The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation in Newport Beach, Calif.

The other finalists are A.J. Hawk of Ohio State and DeMeco Ryans of Alabama.

In its second year, The Lott Trophy honors the college football Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. The student-athlete is judged on both his on-field performance and his off-field performance. The Lott Trophy is the first sports award based on personal character and is appropriately named after the legendary defensive back, Ronnie Lott. Last year's winner was David Pollack, the All-American defensive end from Georgia, who was a first round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Voting for the winner was conducted by Ernst & Young with ballots being sent to college offensive and defensive coordinators, national media, The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation Board of Directors, a Board of Advisors made up of former NFL players and coaches.

The winner will be announced on Dec. 11 at a gala black-tie Awards Banquet at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach.

Among those expected to speak that evening are Lott, former Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Allen, Super Bowl Coach Bill Walsh and Jack Kemp, the former Congressman and professional quarterback. Pat Haden will be the emcee.

Hawk, Tapp and Ryans anchor three of the best defenses in the nation. Ohio State (9-2) is No. 1 against the run; ranked fourth in total defense and seventh in scoring defense. Virginia Tech (10-1) is No. 1 in both total defense and scoring defense while Alabama (9-2) is No. 2 in both categories.

Each of the players played college football in their home state - Hawk is from Centerville, Ohio, Tapp from Chesapeake, Va., and Ryans from Bessemer, Ala.

Tapp is a 6-1, 268-pound senior defensive end who has registered 9.0 sacks this season and an astonishing 34 quarterback hurries.

"Darryl is a great role model to the children of our community and he knows that since he is an 'impact player' on the football team, his voice is heard louder than others," says Virginia Tech Coordinator of Student Life Jessica Hood.

Director of Athletes in Action Todd Crosson says, "Darryl plays to an audience of one. He looks to God for his significance and strength. He wants to perform his best at all times no matter if he is alone or in a stadium with thousands of people". This past summer he attended Athletes in Action Ultimate Summer Training Camp -- designed to teach athletes how to apply spiritual principles to their lives and sports.

Hawk is a 6-1, 238-pound senior linebacker who was named the Big-Tem Defensive Player of the Year. He leads the Buckeyes with 109 tackles (37 more than any other defender), including 11.5 tackles for losses. The returning All-American has 6.5 sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery for the Buckeyes.

"It is my belief that A.J. Hawk is the best linebacker in college football and the best defensive player in the game," says Chris Spielman, the former Buckeye All-American and now a TV analyst. "Off the field, he is a fine example of a student-athlete. He understands and practices his role as leader and role model. I am encouraged and enthused when my own kids say they admire A.J. Hawk."

Ryans is a 6-2, 232-pound senior linebacker who is a three-time All-Academic SEC performer, who will be graduating cum laude in December. He is the top tackler for The Tide with 69, including 10 tackles for losses and has 300 career tackles.

"He's clearly one of the most impressive players in the nation," said former USC and Los Angeles Rams head coach John Robinson, now a radio analyst who covered the Alabama-Florida game this year. "Everything about him, his body language, his abandon on the field, his passion are all at the highest level."