Lott IMPACT Trophy | Honoring College Football's Defensive Best

“IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT, THE MIND CAN ACHIEVE IT.”

-RONNIE LOTT

Lott IMPACT Trophy Finalists in 2018 NFL Draft

FITZPATRICK DRAFTED IN FIRST ROUND, PHILLIPS, JEWELL, KISER ALSO SELECTED

Minkah Fitzpatrick, who overcame long odds to become an All-American at Alabama and a 2017 Lott IMPACT Trophy finalist, flashed a huge smile when he was selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft, being chosen by the Miami Dolphins with the 11th overall pick.

Stanford’s Harrison Phillips, another Lott finalist,  was chosen by the Buffalo Bills in the third round.  Josey Jewell of Iowa, the winner of the Lott IMPACT Trophy, was selected by Denver in the fourth round and Micah Kiser from Virginia, the other finalist, was a fifth-round selection by the Rams.

Fitzpatrick, whose family was basically homeless for a time when he was in high school (a hurricane destroyed their home in New Jersey), is expected to sign a $16.4 million, four-year contract.

“He came in at 18 right away as a freshman and was an impact player for them (Alabama),” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said. “He’s been a very good football player for three years. [He has] impeccable character. There was a story … You guys have all seen his story.”

“I kind of had to grow quick just because of some things I’ve been through at a young age and it kind of helped me realize what I was chasing after,” Fitzpatrick said. “I had a goal in mind and I wasn’t going to fall short of that goal. That was my mind-set going in, and it is the same thing in the NFL. My dream wasn’t to just make it to the NFL, it’s to be a great player in the NFL. It’s just the beginning. Like I said, I’m going to take that same mindset I had at Alabama and apply it to the Miami Dolphins organization.

“It was a tough time in my family’s life, but the only way we got through it was by sticking together as a unit, doing everything together, making decisions together and making sure everybody was all right,” Fitzpatrick told Miami reporters. “And then of course, at the foundation of all of that, was our faith. Our faith in Christ kept us all rooted in the right things, kept our minds and our hearts in the right place. So that was how we did that. It did affect my ability to play sometimes. At one time I told my family I was going to quit and just work and not go to (the) school I was going to because it was a private school, so my family had to pay. So, it did affect my mind-set a little bit; but after a while it kind of reverted my mindset onto something else and it made me work harder rather than just giving up.”

Stanford’s Phillips was a dominant player in the Pac-12 and the only defensive lineman to record 100 tackles last season.

“Phillips played as a nose tackle at Stanford, taking on multiple blockers and establishing the line of scrimmage,” says Dan Lavoie, a reporter in Buffalo. . “He’s a surprisingly good athlete, and had enough range to record 100 tackles as a senior, so there may be some upside as a pass rusher. He’s an incredibly dedicated, smart, hardworking, genial individual who will instantly win over everyone he talks with.”

Jewell, a life-long Denver Broncos fans,  had his best season at Iowa in 2017, recording 132 tackles with 13.5 for losses.

“This has been my dream since I was a little kid,” he said.  “Thanks for the Broncos organization for the opportunity.  Time to get to work.”

Kiser, like Jewell, is a linebacker known for his tackling efficiency.  He led the ACC in tackles for three straight seasons, a feat done only once previously by Boston College’s Luke Kuechly, himself a winner of the Lott IMPACT Trophy.

Kiser was also the winner of the Campbell Award, the Academic Heisman, being recognized as the top football scholar-athlete in the country.

 

Lott IMPACT Trophy Finalists Drafted in the NFL First Round

2005 – David Pollack, Georgia – Cincinnati

2005 – Derrick Johnson, Texas – Kansas City

2006 – A.J. Hawk, Ohio State – Green Bay

2008 – Chris Long, Virginia – St. Louis

2008 – Glen Dorsey, LSU – Kansas City

2009 – Aaron Curry, Wake Forest – Seattle

2009 – Brian Orakpo, Texas – Washington

2010 – Ndamukong  Suh, Nebraska – Detroit

2010 – Eric Berry, Tennessee – Kansas City

2010 – Rolando McClain, Alabama – Oakland

2010 – Jerry Hughes, TCU – Indianapolis

2011 – Patrick Peterson, LSU – Arizona

2011 – J.J. Watt, Wisconsin – Texas

2012 – Luke Kuechly, Boston College – Carolina

2012 – Don’t’a Hightower, Alabama – New England

2013 – Jarvis Jones, Georgia – Pittsburgh

2014 – Anthony Barr, UCLA – Minnesota

2007 – Jabrill Peppers, Michigan – Cleveland

2007 – Adoree’ Jackson, USC – Tennessee

2007 – Jonathan Allen, Alabama – Washington

2018 – Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama – Miami