Lott IMPACT Trophy | Honoring College Football's Defensive Best

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

-RONNIE LOTT

Lott IMPACT Trophy Names 2015 Semi-Finalists

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Newport Beach, CA- The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation has announced the semi-finalists for the 12th annual Lott IMPACT Trophy brought to you by Mercedes-Benz USA.

These distinguished young men represent the qualities embodied by Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott – Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

The winner of the 2015 Lott IMPACT Trophy will be announced at The Lott IMPACT Trophy Award Banquet, held at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach on Dec. 13. The award show will be televised live on Fox Sports at 7PM PST, and will be hosted by Fox Sports’ Joel Klatt and Jenny Taft. Martin Dugard, the co-author with Bill O’Reilly of the series of No. 1 best-selling “Killing” books on Lincoln, Kennedy, Jesus, Patton and Reagan will be featured as the keynote speaker.

The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation will make a $25,000 donation to the general scholarship fund of the winner’s university and $5,000 to each of the schools of the runner-ups. In 10 years, the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation has now donated more than $1.1 million, including over $500,000 to universities throughout the country.

2015 Lott IMPACT Trophy Semi-Finalists

Jeremy Cash, S, Duke
Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
Tyler Matakevich, LB, Temple
Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State
Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
Joshua Perry, LB, Ohio State
Jaylen Ramsey, CB, Florida State
Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
Eric Striker, LB, Oklahoma

A Look at the Lott IMPACT Trophy Semi-Finalists

SHILIQUE CALHOUN, DE, Sr., Michigan State, 7-1 (6-3, 256, Middleton, NJ): Big 10 Co-Defensive Player of the Week in September… Team captain… Has 8 sacks (10th in the country), 10.5 tackles for losses… Will graduate in December with degree in Criminal Justice… Has helped out at the Miracle League’s accessible trick-or-treating event… Has participated in breast cancer awareness events, anti-bullying events and has visited several elementary schools… Has befriended a sick young adult at practice and he and his family will be his guests at an upcoming game.

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “He provides leadership for our football team, as well, and I’m very excited he’s back with us, obviously, but I think he’s an unselfish player.”

Shilique Calhoun: “I’d love to be a secret agent or special ops. But it’s also important to protect the people here in the United States. Local law enforcement is good enough for me.”

JEREMY CASH, S, Sr., Duke, 6-3 (6-2, 205, Miami, FL):  Player of the Week twice this season, Week 4 and Week 8… All-ACC and All-American as junior… Leads team with 80 tackles and among the nation’s leaders (3rd) with 16.5 tackles for losses and 3 forced fumbles… Credited with eight quarterback hurries… Team captain… Recovered two fumbles against Army… Psychology major with a minor in Evolutionary Anthropology… Working on Master’s degree… Could become first three-time All-American in Duke history… Mid-season All-American.

Duke Coach David Cutcliffe: “He’s doing everything you want a leader to do. Jeremy sets the standard for how your team manages themselves, from the locker room to the equipment room. It sounds like an unimportant thing, but that’s huge. Those are all learned behaviors. That’s what really good leaders do.”

Jeremy Cash: “Honestly, when people ask me, ‘Hey, are you a football player,’ I always tell them, no. I’m a student that plays football. I think there’s a difference. Because I don’t let football define the type of person that I am.”

TYLER MATAKEVICH, LB, Sr., Temple, 8-1 (6-1, 232, Stratford, CT.): Was National Defensive Player of the Week when Temple beat Penn State, 27-10, earlier this season… Lott IMPACT Player of the Week in Week 9… Leads team with 87 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 4 sacks and 5 interceptions (most in the country among  linebackers)… Has had over 100 tackles in each of his first three seasons… Has played in school record 44 straight games… Twice on Big East Weekly Honor Roll… Named to Senior Class Award list for academic and athletic achievement along with character and community service. Projected draft: 2nd or 3rd round.

Tyler Matakevich: “If you’re able to study this game and really understand it, it’ll make you such a good football player, and that’s what I’ve really learned since I’ve been in college.”

Temple Coach Matt Rhule: “One of the things he does is he allows himself to be led and he leads.  He allows people to hold him accountable.  He wants to raise everybody’s level of play.  Tyler worries about his teammates and it’s why everybody respects him so much.”

CARL NASSIB, DE, Sr., Penn State, 7-3 (6-7, 272, West Chester, PA): Leads the nation in sacks (15.5), tackles for losses (19.5), and forced fumbles (5)… He is a two-time All-Big Ten  academic choice who plans to enter medical school… Will graduate in December with a 3.5 grade point average in Biology… Former walk-on who had never started a game in high school or college until this season… Mid-season All-American.

Carl Nassib: “People work hard for a while and expect results to come out like that. And it’s difficult to work hard every day for long periods of time and not really see the fruits of your labor until later in life. But those are the really lucky people that strive to be the best they can be and, one day, they look at themselves and they are. I want to be one of those people who can look at myself in the mirror and know I did everything I could to be the best that I can. Personally, I don’t think about stats very much. The only stats that matter to me are the wins and losses every week.”

Lindsay Schnell, Sports Illustrated: “He’s a Penn State guy that embodies the hard-working, blue-collar, never-quit, does-everything-the-right-way-on-and-off-the-field attitude adopted by the Nittany Lions decades ago.

 EMMANUEL OGBAH, DE, Rs Jr., Oklahoma State, 9-0 (6-4, 275, Lagos, Nigeria): Lott IMPACT Player of the Week and National Defensive Player of the Week for Oct. 10… Scored touchdown on a fumble recovery against West Virginia Oct. 10… Has 13.5 tackles for loss this year with 9 sacks (5th in nation) and 14 quarterback hurries… 2nd team Academic All-Big 12… Mid-season All-American.

Oklahoma State Defensive Line Coach Bob Clements: “He’s always been very astute. He asks smart questions. I don’t think I’ve ever had a report of him missing anything [like classes or tutoring sessions]. You recognize right away he’s a focused young man. When he asks questions, they’re smart football questions. He wanted to know more.”

George Schroeder, USA Today: “Their best player is also their hardest worker. By all accounts, Ogbah is always studying, always on time, always tuned into the most important priorities, trying to learn and grow and improve.”

 JOSHUA PERRY, LB, Sr., Ohio State, 9-0 (6-4, 252, Galena, OH): Team captain…Has 64 tackles this season, 5.5 for losses, one sack… Nominated for Senior Class Award, AFCA Good Works Team and Wuerffel Award – all for community service… On Ohio Public Images Award list in spring of 2015… Ohio State Scholar-Athlete… Will graduate in December… His 124 tackles led National Champion Ohio State by 32 tackles last year… 2nd team All-Big Ten in 2014… Made trip to El Salvador to donate shoes in Soles For Souls program.

Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer: “He’s one of my favorite guys.  He’s a guy that just does everything right…He’s a guy I’d hire in a minute if he wants to coach.  He’s a guy that just represents the Perry family and Ohio State the right way, there’s a high correlation between that and playing very well on the field and he’s doing it.”

 Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith: “If he did not play professionally, I would create a position for him and train him to be an athletic administrator,  If I had to choose three athletes over my 30 years as an athletic director who would be most special, Joshua would be one of the three.”

 Columbus Dispatch: “Always competitive and athletic, Joshua Perry has developed into a first-class individual noted for his many positive endeavors.”

JALEN RAMSEY, CB, Jr., Florida State, 7-2 (6-1, 204, Smyrna, TN): 2nd team All-American last year… Has defended 5 passes and broken up 9 more… Has a fumble recovery for 36 yards… 37 total tackles…… Will graduate on time in December… Won ACC Outdoor and Indoor long jump titles and was a member of sprint relay team… Mid-season All-American.

Florida State SID Office: He has volunteered to speak to children at the Childcare Network daycare service. Ramsey spoke to several aspiring athletes at RPT (Ramsey Performance Training … his dad’s training facility for athletes) and In Full Motion (an ACT and SAT prep facility w/ Athletic Trainers) about staying on the right path to make it to college…Also volunteered at Charlie Ward’s youth football camp in Pensacola football, where he mentored youth…Involved with Kidz1stFund foundation efforts to help raise money and awareness for Fanconi anemia, such as Lift a Thons, TD Drives and blood drives.

Wake Forest Coach Dave Clawson: “The corner is as good as anybody, Ramsey, that we’ve seen on film. He is outstanding and a difference maker.”

JAYLON SMITH: LB. Jr., Notre Dame, 8-1 (6-5, 240, Ft. Wayne, IN):  Player of the Week, Week 2… Team captain… Leads team with 73 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 forced fumble, 4 quarterback hurries, 3 passes defended, 3 passes broken up… Mid-season All-American.

 Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly: “Based upon what I saw in the last three weeks of camp, I would be hard pressed to say he won’t be the finest defensive players I’ve ever seen.”

Jaylon Smith: “Any leader leads their own way,” Smith said. “It’s important that as I continue to take steps forward, that I continue to stay true to who I am, not try to be someone I’m not.”

Kyle Lindsay (Bishop Luers High in FT Wayne), on Smith working in high school:  “It was so cool to see this big kid with this status—this monster recruit and Mr. Football candidate—serving burgers with that big smile on his face. He didn’t have to do that. I’m pretty sure he did that because he wanted to learn some responsibility.”

ERIC STRIKER, LB, Sr., Oklahoma, 8-1 (6-0, 225, Seffner, FL): Player of the Week, Week 5… National Player of the Week same time… Among leaders in the country with 10.5  tackles for losses… Has 40 tackles, 7 sacks, an interception, a fumble recovery and 7 quarterback hurries… Two-time all-conference selection… 3rd team All-American last year…  Has 33.5 tackles for loss in career and 20 sacks.

Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops: “On behalf of our coaching staff, we are exceedingly proud to have young men like Eric Striker representing our program in the classroom, in the community and on the football field.  When I reflect on the career of Ronnie Lott and this award that bears his name, I would humbly submit that I couldn’t think of a more worthy candidate than Eric.”

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