NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - Forty-two of the most accomplished student-athletes in the country have been nominated for the ninth annual Lott IMPACT Trophy, it was announced today at a luncheon in Newport Beach, Calif., including Virginia Tech junior cornerback Kyle Fuller.
“Each year we are proud to present a list of college football players who exemplify the things we believe in,” said Ronnie Lott. “This group is no exception. These young men are terrific players and great role models, both on and off the field.”
The 2012 Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List includes seven players from last season, headed by 2011 finalist Manti Te’o of Notre Dame. Semi-finalists John Simon of Ohio State and Brodrick Brown of Oklahoma State are also on the list as are quarter-finalists T.J. McDonald of USC, John Boyett of Oregon and Jordan Kovacs of Michigan. Brandon Jenkins of Florida State rounds out the returning nominees.
The Big Ten leads the way with nine nominees, followed by the Pac-12 with eight, the ACC and Big-12 with seven each and the SEC with five.
There are 18 linebackers, 13 defensive backs and 11 defensive linemen on the list.
Voting for the Lott IMPACT Trophy will take place throughout the season with the winner announced at the annual black-tie awards banquet Dec. 9 at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach.
A look at the candidates:
David Amerson, North Carolina State, CB, 6-3, 194 (Greensboro, NC): Led the nation with 13 interceptions, most in ACC history…Had 59 total tackles…Finalist for Thorpe Award…ESPN first-team All-American.
Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State, CB, 6-2, 185 (Maben, Mississippi): Semi-finalist for Thorpe Award…5 interceptions, 71 tackles…As a freshman he intercepted two Tim Tebow passes and returned one for a 100-yard touchdown.
Chris Borland, Wisconsin, LB, 5-11, 245 (Kettering, Ohio): Consensus All-Big Ten pick…3rd team All-American…Recorded 131 tackles, 18 tackles for loss with two interceptions.
John Boyett, Oregon, S, 5-10, 202 (Napa, Ca.): Has led the Ducks in tackles twice in first three seasons (108 last year, 4th in Pac 12)…All-Pac 12, honorable mention…Second team AA in 2010…Was on Watch List for Lott Trophy last season…Active in hometown charities.
Arthur Brown, Kansas State, LB, 6-1, 223 (Wichita): Big-12 Newcomer of the Year…Recorded 95 tackles as JC transfer…Intercepted Heisman winner Robert Griffin III to set up game-winning field goal against Baylor…All-Big 12.
Brodrick Brown, Oklahoma State, CB, 5-8, 188 (Houston): Semi-finalist for Lott Trophy and Thorpe Trophy last year…Sports Illustrated second team All-American and All Big-12…152 career tackles, 28 consecutive starts…Academic All Big-12.
Jonathan Brown, Illinois, LB, 6-1, 235 (Memphis): Led team with 108 tackles and 19.5 tackles for loss…Had six sacks and two fumble recoveries…Honorable mention All-Big Ten.
Max Bullough, Michigan State, LB, 6-3, 245 (Traverse City, Michigan): Third generation Spartan…Led team in tackles with 89…Second team All-Big Ten…Academic All-District with 3.93 GPA.
Tra’ves Bush, Navy, S, 5-10, 192 (Johnston, South Carolina): Led Midshipmen with 61 solo tackles last season (93 total)…Had four tackles for loss and two interceptions…Graduated with academic honors from high school.
Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech, CB, 6-0, 187 (Baltimore): Recorded team-best 14.5 tackles for losses…Had 65 tackles, two interceptions…All-ACC.
Steve Greer, Virginia, LB, 6-2, 225 (Solon, Ohio): Two-time Cavalier Captain…Led team with 103 tackles…All-ACC.
Gerald Hodges, Penn State, LB, 6-2, 234 (Paulsboro, NJ): Was All-Big Ten selection last season when he led team in tackles with 106…Added 10 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.
DeMontre Hurst, Oklahoma, DB, 5-10, 181 (Lancaster, Tx.): 2nd team All-Big 12…119 career tackles, 8 tackles for losses, 2 interceptions…27 career starts…Went on trip to Haiti this spring to help rebuild infrastructure.
Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas, DE 6-5, 250, (Plano, Texas): Had 21 tackles for losses with 8 sacks…2nd team All-Big 12…Volunteers at Children’s Medical Center and Dallas Food Bank…Speaks at local schools…Father Jim was NFL standout.
Brandon Jenkins, Florida State, DE, 6-3, 265 (Tallahassee): Lott Watch List in ’11…Had 12 tackles for losses, 8 sacks last season…41 tackles…All-ACC.
Jarvis Jones, Georgia, LB, 6-3, 240 (Columbus, Ga.): Led SEC with 19.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks in breakout season…Led Bulldogs with 70 tackles…Named first team All-American…Team captain and MVP…Butkus finalist…Transfer from USC.
A.J. Klein, Iowa State, LB, 6-2, 244 (Kimberly, Wisconsin): Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Big-12 last season…116 tackles, 2nd in conference…Academic All-Big 12 and Commissioner Honor Roll.
Jake Knott, Iowa State, LB, 6-3, 239 (Waukee, Iowa): Team co-captain…2nd team All-Big 12…Led team with 130 tackles as a sophomore…115 tackles (2nd on team) last year with four tackles for loss and two interceptions.
Jordan Kovacs, Michigan, S, 6-0, 195 (Curtice, Ohio): Lott Player of the Week last season in game against Western Michigan when he had 10 tackles, two sacks and forced fumble…On Lott Watch list as a junior…Former walk-on…Academic All-Big Ten…116 tackles second best in Big Ten as a sophomore…75 tackles last season…Honorable mention All- Big Ten…Academic All-Ohio in high school.
Patrick Larimore, UCLA, LB, 6-3, 253 (Santa Clarita, Ca.): Team captain and defensive MVP last season when he led Bruins with 81 tackles…Director’s Honor Roll three times.
Star Lotulelei, Utah, DT, 6-4, 325 (South Jordan, Utah): Won Morris Trophy as top defensive lineman in the Pac 12 last year…First team All-Pac 12…44 tackles, 9 for losses…Born in Tonga.
Brandon Magee, Arizona State, LB, 5-11, 230 (Corona, Ca.): Missed last season with torn Achilles…Has 118 tackles, 12 tackles for loss in first three years…Honor student.
T.J. McDonald, USC, S, 6-3, 205 (Fresno): Two-time Trojan captain…All-Pac 12 performer, 1st team (Sporting News) All-American…Son of former USC All-American Tim McDonald…First Father-Son combination in USC history to be All-Americans and team captains…163 career tackles, 6 interceptions…Semi-finalist for Thorpe Award last season and quarter-finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy.
Sam Montgomery, LSU, DE, 6-4, 245 (Greenwood, South Carolina): All-American and Hendricks finalist…All SEC…Led team with nine sacks and 13 tackles for loss.
Brandon Ogletree, BYU, LB, 5-11, 228 (McKinney, Texas): Led Cougars with 76 tackles last season, 4 tackles for losses…Eagle Scout…Has seven sisters…Married…Mission trip was to Chile.
Alex Okafor, Texas, DE, 6-5, 260 (Pflugerville, Texas): Unanimous Big 12 pick…AFCA All-American…14 tackles for loss, 17 quarterback hurries…110 career tackles…on Hendricks list last year…Athletic Director’s Honor Roll.
J.C. Percy, Boise State, LB, 6-0, 221 (Blackfoot, Idaho): Three time Mountain West All-Academic with a 3.67 GPA in economics…Leading returning tackler on team with 46 last season…Special teams standout.
Ray Polk, Colorado, S, 6-1, 205 (Scottsdale, Az.): Has logged over 70 hours of community service at Upward Foundation that helps mentally challenged kids…Led team with 59 unassisted tackles last season (80 tackles total).
Jordan Poyer, Oregon State, CB, 6-0, 190 (Astoria, Oregon): Was credited with 16 passes defended and 12 passes broken up last season…57 tackles, four interceptions…Second team All-Pac 12…Drafted in professional baseball.
Kevin Reddick, North Carolina, LB, 6-3, 240 (New Bern, North Carolina): Led team in tackles as a soph with 74 and 2nd on team last season with 71 (six tackles for losses).
Eric Reid, LSU, S, 6-2, 208 (Geismar, La.): 2nd team All-American…2nd team All SEC…65 tackles…Part of touted LSU defensive secondary.
Luke Ruff, Wyoming, S, 5-11, 195 (Castle Rock, Colorado): Led team in tackles with 102…Named Academic All-District two consecutive years…Has a 3.56 GPA in civil engineering…Special Teams Player of the Year as a freshman.
Kawaan Short, Purdue, DT, 6-3, 310 (E. Chicago, Indiana): 2nd team All-Big Ten…17 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks…54 tackles…Team co-captain
John Simon, Ohio State, DT, 6-2, 270 (Youngstown): Lott IMPACT Watch List returnee…1st team All Big-Ten…Recorded 53 tackles, 16 for losses with seven sacks…High school national honor society.
Baker Steinkuhler, Nebraska, DT, 6-6, 290 (Lincoln): Son of Outland and Lombardi winner Dean Steinkuhler…Had 40 tackles, 5 for losses and two sacks as a junior…Has graduated from Nebraska…Big-12 Academic Honor Roll.
Mike Taylor, Wisconsin, LB, 6-2, 230 (Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin): Led Badgers with 137 tackles…8 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries…Had 22 tackles against Ohio State…Team MVP.
Manti Te’o, Notre Dame, LB, 6-2, 255 (Laie, Hawaii): Finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy in 2011…Returning All-American…Led Irish with 128 tackles and 13.5 tackles for loss last season…Carries a 3.3 GPA…Eagle Scout…Does significant volunteer work.
Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford, 6-4, 239 (Marietta, Georgia): Among national leaders with 22 tackles for loss last season (led Pac 12), 10 sacks and five forced fumbles…Totaled 52 tackles…First team All-Pac 12.
Joe Vellano, Maryland, DT, 6-1, 285 (Rexford, NY): Most tackles of all defensive linemen in the country last year with 94…All-ACC choice, 2nd team All-American…Team captain…Had 20 tackles vs. Georgia Tech.
Zach Watts, Army, LB, 5-11, 207 (Pittsburgh): Had 26 tackles, 6.5 for losses and three sacks…Son of retired U.S. Army Command Sgt. Major.
Bjoern Werner, Florida State, DE, 6-4, 273 (Berlin): German native with little experience in football, but came on last year to record 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks…Academic All-District…Married.
Jesse Williams, Alabama, DT, 6-4, 319 (Brisbane, Australia): New to football, helped anchor the No. 1 rush defense in the country last season (75 yards per game)…Contributed 22 tackles.
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