Notre Dame Football: Manti Te'o and Ranking the Lott Trophy Watch List
College football has several awards that they hand out at the end of the year, and you know the season is inching closer when the watch lists for these awards begin to release.
The first watch list to come out is for the Lott Trophy. It goes to the defensive player that has the biggest impact on and off the field. So not only does this player have to be a beast on the defensive side of the ball, but he has to do well in the classroom and community service wouldn't hurt either.
It's often known as at IMPACT Trophy, which stands for integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity.
So as we continue to wait for more of the watch lists to be released, here is a breakdown of the candidates for the award and the top 10 favorites.
The Rest of the List
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David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State
Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Chris Borland, LB,. Wisconsin
John Boyett, FS. Oregon
Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
Jonathan Brown, LB, Illinois
Max Bullough, LB, Michigan State
Tra’ves Bush, S, Navy
Kyle Fuller, DB, Virginia Tech
Steve Greer, LB, Virginia
Demontre Hurst, DB, Oklahoma
Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State
Jordan Kovacs, S, Michigan
Patrick Larimore, LB, UCLA
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Brandon Magee, LB, Arizona State
T.J. McDonald, S, USC
Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
Brandon Ogletree, LB, BYU
Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
Kevin Reddick, LB, North Carolina
Luke Ruff, S, Wyoming
Kawaan Short, DT, Purdue
Baker Steinkuhler, DT, Nebraska
Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin
Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford
Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland
Bjoern Warner, DE, Florida State
Zach Watts, LB, Army
Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
J.C. Percy, LB, Boise State
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Percy has been a consistent player throughout his Boise State career and does a little bit of everything for his team. He plays special teams, played a little bit of offense and finished the year with 46 tackles and an interception on defense. He also has a 3.7 GPA in business economics and has been called "The smartest man in Boise" by head coach Chris Petersen.
“He’s just a really smart guy, even outside of football,” Petersen said. “He’s very good in school. I think he’s a very high IQ guy. Some of the things we do with our punt team protection-wise is very unorthodox…He makes the right call 99.9 percent of the time.”
Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State
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Jenkins could have entered the NFL draft last season but decided to return for his senior year, graduate and try to help his team reach the national championship. He finished last season with 41 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and a solid eight sacks.
He was named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list last season as well.
Eric Reid, S, LSU
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Eric Reid finished second on the team in tackles his sophomore year with 76. He was named a 2011 Second-Team All-SEC by the AP and earned SEC defensive player of the week for his efforts against Alabama (6 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 1 interception).
Off the field, he was named to the 2011 SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll.
“It means that my hard work paid off,” said Reid. “I got recognized for my work, and I’m happy about it. A goal I set for myself is to be an Academic All-America. I’m still working on that, but hopefully later on I’ll get that.”
Gerald Hodges, LB, Penn State
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Hodges really took his game to the next level his junior season, finishing with 106 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and four sacks. He also intercepted a pass and returned it for 63 yards, while breaking up four passes as well.
He earned first-team All-Big Ten honors and is ready to become a leader for this football team as he enters his senior year.
A.J. Klein, LB, Iowa State
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Iowa State wasn't really good on either side of the ball, but A.J. Klein sure did his part. He was the Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Big 12 last season as he finished with 117 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and returned an interception 78 yards for a touchdown in the game against Missouri.
He also earned Academic All-Big 12 and Commissioner Honor Roll.
Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
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Jarvis Jones was an absolute beast his sophomore season as he finished the year with 70 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks and broke up two passes as well. He was a finalist for the Butkus Award, named to the First Team All-SEC and earned the team's Most Valuable Defensive Player Award.
Off the field, well, kicker Blair Walsh can explain everything you need to know.
"It would have to be Jarvis Jones," Walsh said. "The way he has played on the field and the way he has carried himself on and off the field, he has been a real exemplary leader for us. That fact that he is able to perform week in and week out for us and do what he does and dominate the other teams' offensive players is just real impressive, and I haven't seen it since I have been here."
Ray Polk, S, Colorado
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The Buffalos had one of the worst defenses in the country last season, but one of their bright spots was safety Ray Polk. He led the team with 69 tackles, broke up two passes and had an interception in the close game against Washington State.
The thing that really makes him stand out on this list is the fact that he's dedicated over 70 hours of his time to the Upward Foundation, an organization that helps mentally challenged kids.
Brodrick Brown, CB, Oklahoma State
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Brown has been named to the first team All-Big 12 academic team and was named the Lott Player of the Week last year in the Cowboys victory over the Aggies. On the field he had five interceptions, 68 tackles, four tackles for loss and broke up a ridiculous 15 passes.
He was named a member of the First-Team All-Big 12 by the AP and the coaches and was a semifinalist for the Lott award last season as well as a Thorpe Award semifinalist.
John Simon, DT, Ohio State
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John Simon was a semifinalist for the award last year after being an All-Big Ten player and a Third Team AP All-American. He finished his junior season with 53 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and was the only Buckeye that had more than three sacks. (He racked up seven)
You can read here why teammates and coaches absolutely love him.
Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
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Manti Te'o is the only member of this year's watch list that was a finalist last year. The Notre Dame linebacker could have left school early last season and would've been a first-round pick but decided to return for his senior year and help try to lead his team to a BCS bowl.
He's led the Irish in tackles the last two seasons and finished last year with 13.5 tackles for loss and five sacks.
You can check all of the things he's done off the field here.