Lott IMPACT Trophy | Honoring College Football's Defensive Best



Ohio State’s Joshua Perry


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Joshua Perry was in the fourth grade when the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation announced a new college football award, the Lott IMPACT Trophy.

But it seems they had Joshua Perry in mind when they outlined the criteria for the award, which has grown into one of the most prestigious in the country.  IMPACT stands for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

Yep, that’s Joshua Perry, a 6-4, 254-pound senior linebacker for National Champion Ohio State.

An engaging, mature and confident 21-year-old, Perry is one of 42 student-athletes on the 2015 Lott Watch List.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith was asked if he would hire Perry. “What time is it? 4:14,” Smith said. “I’d hire him at 4:15. That guy is a stud.”

Perry’s IMPACT was felt this past May when he journeyed to Costa Rica — with eight other athletes from OSU – as part of the Soles4Souls program whose mission it is to be “a global social enterprise committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing.”

“The culture is completely different from ours,” said Perry in an interview at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.  “But when all is said and done, humans are humans.  I learned that young people want love and protection and that’s what we tried to give them, along with the shoes and clothing.  And we got love right back. The living conditions were kind of hard to see, but it certainly broadened my horizons. It was an awesome experience. I plan on doing it again.”

Perry is no slouch on performance, either.  He led the Buckeyes with 124 tackles, including 73 solo last season.  A natural leader, he is expected to be officially named a team captain by Coach Urban Meyer this fall.  “I do not take my role lightly.  I want to leave Ohio State a better place than when I got here.  Just like players who came before me like James (Laurinaitis who won the Lott in 2007).”

Perry’s beliefs come across strongly.  He is an advocate of hard work, perseverance, encouragement and balance.

“You reap what you sew”, he says.  “You should always prepare and realize that things are not always as bad as they seem.  Take the positive approach.

“One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 30:5, For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favor is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Ohio State is given an excellent chance to repeat its national title and Perry laughs lightly at the suggestion that repeating is so difficult.  “If you can keep in mind that it’s the process, not the destination.  Every day is a new day to work on climbing the mountain.  We’ll be a good team, but we will not talk about repeating.”

As you would expect, his head coach is a huge fan.

“He’s one of my favorite guys,” Meyer said. “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. Normally, there’s a high correlation between that and playing very well on the field and he’s doing it.”

Perry, the student athlete, finds his schedule conducive to balancing his life.  “I take care of my classes in the morning (he’s majoring in consumer and financial services with a 3.0 GPA and will graduate in December) then come over here to the Woody (the Woody Hayes Athletic Center), have lunch, work on my studies, go to practice and then work out.  It gives me time at night to do other things, like call my parents.”

Perry’s parents — and he credits them with much of his early successes — always stressed education and all three of their sons have attended Ohio State.  Perry’s oldest brother, Wesley, is a jazz musician (saxophone) who recently moved to Long Beach to pursue his career.

“He’s a dream chaser, I admire him so much.”

Perry’s youngest brother, Jahred, is the manager of the Buckeye Lacrosse team.  He has Asperger’s syndrome, but brother Joshua says he is inspired by Jahred’s attitude.  “He’s my guy,” says Joshua.  “He doesn’t’ deal with what he can’t do, but what he can do.  He proves that whatever you want to do is attainable. He gives me my passion for life.”

And what a life it’s been so far.  With so much more to come.

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