NEWPORT BEACH, CA – Steak was on the menu, but the main course was excitement when 200 college football fans gathered at The Pacific Club for the unveiling of the annual Lott IMPACT® Trophy Watch List.
It marked the 20th year for the prestigious award, the first and only one that recognizes the student-athletes performance both on and off the field.
Lincoln Riley, USC’s dynamic head coach, was on hand to deliver remarks and comment on the impressive student-athletes who were named to the 2023 list as well as the legendary Trojan, Ronnie Lott.
“There are a lot of great players,” Riley said, “but there are those who transcend the game. Some rise to different levels. Ronnie Lott is one of them. He’s a success at whatever he does, on the football field and all the way to here for this award named after him.”
Riley got plenty of applause when he talked about the upcoming season, his second at USC.
“We won 11 games last year and we will not be happy with (just) 11 wins this year,” he said. “Last year was just the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot of great things ahead.”
It was pointed out to Coach Riley that USC had two of the 42 nominees – along with Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio State. “Next year, we’ll have five”, he said.
There are 16 linebackers, 13 defensive backs and 13 defensive linemen on the 2023 Watch List. The SEC leads the way with nine players followed closely by the Big Ten and the Pac-12 with eight each.
During the season, voters will select the quarter-finalists, semi-finalists and four finalists with the winner of the Lott IMPACT® Trophy announced at the main event December 10th at The Pacific Club.
Of course, Ronnie Lott was there, who was delighted to hear that charity contributions from the award were now approaching $2 million.
Also in attendance were two-time National Coach of the Year Mike White (at Cal and Illinois), USC All-American tailback Anthony Davis and Chuck Finley, the winningest pitcher in Angel history.
Previous Winners of the Lott IMPACT® Trophy:
2004 – David Pollack, Georgia
2005 – DeMeco Ryans, Alabama
2006 – Dante Hughes, Cal
2007 – Glenn Dorsey, LSU
2008 – James Laurinaitis, Ohio State
2009 – Jerry Hughes, TCU
2010 – J.J. Watt, Wisconsin
2011 – Luke Kuechly, Boston College
2012 – Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
2013 – Anthony Barr, UCLA
2014 – Eric Kendricks, UCLA
2015 – Carl Nassib, Penn State
2016 – Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
2017 – Josey Jewell, Iowa
2018 – Josh Allen, Kentucky
2019 – Derrick Brown, Auburn
2020 – Paddy Fisher, Northwestern
2021 – Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
2022 – Will Anderson, Jr., Alabama