Lott IMPACT Trophy | Honoring College Football's Defensive Best



The annual Lott IMPACT Trophy goes to the college football defensive player who has had the biggest IMPACT on his team both and off the field. IMPACT stands for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.  In other words, character counts.

Please vote for your top four (4) candidates on the basis of CHARACTER and PERFORMANCE.

To vote, follow the instructions outlined in your electronic ballot e-mail.


Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama | 6-1, 203, New Brunswick, NJ

Most Recent Game Stats (vs. Auburn): 8 tackles, 1/2 tackle for loss, one broken up

Mid-season All-American…Has 52 tackles, 6 tackles for losses, 7 passes broken up, blocked one field goal and forced one fumble…All-American…6 interceptions, four touchdowns, 66 tackles last season…Semi-finalist for Thorpe…Academic All District with 3.34 GPA…Projected first round NFL pick…Lott IMPACT Player of the Week, Oct. 7.

“You either buy into the culture (at Alabama) or you don’t. And the culture here is where legends are made.” – Minkah Fitzpatrick

Team Record: 11-1

Relevant Articles:

-Minkah Fitzpatrick is the closest thing Saban has to a proxy on the field

-Minkah Fitzpatrick had to rebuild his home well before he mended Alabama’s defense

Malik Jefferson, LB/DE, Texas | 6-3, 240, Mesquite, TX

Most Recent Game Stats (vs. Texas Tech): 10 tackles and one quarterback hurry

Leads team with 110 tackles, has 10 tackles for losses 4 sacks and 5 quarterback hurries…Commissioner’s Honor Roll…Top high school recruit in Texas in 2015…Benched in 2016, has come back to play at a high level.

“Any time you get a chance to get on the field it’s fun. That’s the mentality. To be out there with your brothers and giving the ball back for your offense and generate some momentum, that’s what we’re about. We love being on the field. We’re ready to go.” – Malik Jefferson

Team Record: 6-6

Relevant Articles:

– What a difference a year makes for Texas’ Malik Jefferson

-Video: Malik Jefferson and teammates visit Dell Children’s Hospital

Josey Jewell, LB, Iowa | 6-2, 235, Decorah, IA

Most Recent Game Stats (vs. Nebraska): 8 tackles, 1.5 tackles for losses and 3 passes broken up

Mid-season All-American…3rd in nation with 11.4 tackles per game (125 total tackles), 14 tackles for loss , 4.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, forced fumble, 11 passes broken up….He had 128 tackles as a sophomore and came back with 124 last year…A Butkus finalist as a junior…National Honor Society in high school… Named to Senior Class Award List…Lott IMPACT Player of the Week twice this season – Sept. 9. and Nov. 18

“Because of the way he operates, not only the way he plays on the field and practices, but what he does beyond the scene. He is so respected.” – Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz

Team Record: 7-5

Relevant Articles:

-When he’s not wreaking havoc on offenses, Josey Jewell is putting his enterprise leadership major to work

-More than just a pregame wave, Josey Jewell carries on the Hawkeye’s tradition of visiting the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital


Micah Kiser, LB, Virginia | 6-2, 240, Baltimore, MD

Most Recent Game Stats (vs. Virginia Tech): 19 tackles with 1.5 tackles for losses

5th in the nation in tackles with 11.2 per game (134 total)…Has 9.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries and 4 passes broken up… Semi-finalist for Lott Trophy last season…2nd team All-American…2nd team Academic All-American…Named to Senior Class Award List…Already has his degree…Campbell (academic Heisman) Award finalist…Lott IMPACT Player of the Week twice this season – Sept. 16 and Nov. 4.

“I can think of no one in my teaching experience (over 30 years) who has better exemplifies the concept of balancing studies with Division 1 football than Micah.” — James S. Todd, Lecturer in Politics, University of Virginia

Team Record:  6-6

Relevant Articles:

-Micah Kiser stood as a leader, unifying his diverse team after race-driven riots in Charlottesville

-Kiser a finalist for “Academic Heisman”

Hercules Mata’afa, DL, Washington State | 6-2, 255, Lahaina, HI

Most Recent Game Stats (vs. Washington): 2 tackles

Mid-season All-American…Leads the Pac-12 with 21.5 tackles for losses (6th in the nation) and 9.5 sacks (10th in the nation)…Has 46 career tackles for losses and 21.5 sacks…This year has 5 quarterback hurries two forced fumbles (one recovered) and 43 total tackles…All Pac-12 performer from Hawaii…Lott IMPACT Player of the Week, Nov. 11.

“He’s one of the first kids we’ve had (to face) this year where you actually had to game plan against and know where he was at all times. He does a great job of what we call getting skinny in gaps, getting his pads under yours and finding ways to get in the backfield. It doesn’t matter if he’s on defense or special teams. He was a nightmare for us on field goal protection. Credit to the kid – as far as a defender goes, he’s the best one we’ve seen. I was extremely impressed with him.” –USC Coach Clay Helton

Team record: 9-3

Relevant Articles:

-WSU Cougars have a Hercules, and he’s a powerhouse on defense

-HAWAII GROWN: Mata’afa has WSU thinking Pac-12 title

Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, LB, Oklahoma | 6-3, 214, Houston, TX

Most Recent Game Stats (vs. West Virginia): 3 tackles

Mid-season All-American…Political Science graduate…64 tackles, 3rd on team…5 quarterback hurries in one game…Has 17 tackles for loss (12th in nation), 8 sacks, 3 forced fumbles…2nd team All Big-12 last year…Team captain…Will graduate in December…Parents are from Nigeria.

“He has exhibited remarkable personal and athletic growth and maturation since he arrived on campus several years ago and has been eager to seek out many community service activities.” Lincoln Riley, Head Coach, Oklahoma

“He has established himself as one of the most relentless pass-rushers in the country” – Jake Trotter, ESPN

Team Record: 11-1

Relevant Articles:

-Sooners’ Obo Okoronkwo redefines success as Nigerian-American football player

-Ogbo Okoronkwo Playing for Danielle

Harrison Phillips, DL, Stanford | 6-4, 295, Omaha, NE

Most Recent Game Stats (vs. Notre Dame): 6 tackles, 2 sacks, and 3 tackles for losses

2nd on team with 86 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 6 quarterback hurries, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and a blocked field goal…Academic All Pac-12, double major in sociology and science, technology and society (will graduate early)…Mentors at-risk minority youth..AFCA Good Works Team (one of 11 in country)…Lott IMPACT Player of the Week Oct. 28.

“With the platform I have as a Stanford football player, there are endless possibilities in the lives I can touch, and that’s what I really want to do, to bring joy to people’s lives who may be struggling or need someone to lean on.” – Harrison Phillips

Team Record: 9-3

Relevant Articles:

-From feeding homeless to doing the splits, Stanford’s Phillips a rare find

-DT Harrison Phillips, who leads the Cardinal in tackles, recognized for volunteer work with at-risk youth

Cameron Smith, LB, USC | 6-2, 249, Roseville, CA.

Most Recent Game Stats (vs. UCLA): 8 tackles, one tackle for loss, one pass broken up

Three-year starter…Leads Trojans with 95 tackles…9 tackles for losses…1 Interception…Team captain…Lott IMPACT Player of the Week Sept. 23 and Oct. 14.

“In terms of the little things, discipline and guys that really want to be here for the team, we want to win and making people proud, that’s a huge thing for our team right now. I wouldn’t say better or worse, I’m just saying it’s different, it’s more competitive. It feels like we are ready to come out and bring things back and get ready to go again” – Cameron Smith

Team Record: 10-2

Relevant Articles:

-USC’s Cameron Smith of Granite Bay looks like linebacker leader


Drue Tranquill, S, Notre Dame | 6-2, 231, Montgomery, AL

Most Recent Game Stats (vs. Stanford): 4 tackles

Named to Senior Class Award List…Has 74 tackles, 8.5 tackles for losses, 3 fumble recoveries and an interception, 3 passes broken up…Academic All District and Academic All-American…Team captain…Majoring in mechanical engineering.

From Drue Tranquill’s twitter account: “Victory loves preparation.” “Be fearless today.” “Great moments are born from great opportunities.”

Team Record: 9-3

Relevant Articles:

-Drue Tranquill and Notre Dame football reaches out to fans on common turf

-Notre Dame safety, engineering major leverages knee injuries into healthy perspective