Lott Award nominees announced

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- The 42 nominees for the 2012 Lott IMPACT Trophy were announced on Monday at the Pacific Club.

The Lott IMPACT Trophy has been presented each year since 2004 to the college football defensive player who best represents the character traits of Impact, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

Named for Pro Football Hall of Famer and USC All-American Ronnie Lott, the award nominates 42 players in honor of Lott’s jersey number.

“Each year we are proud to present a list of college football players who exemplify the things we believe in,” Lott said. “This group is no exception. These young men are terrific players and great role models.”

The 2012 Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list includes seven players who were nominated last year as well: Manti Te'o (Notre Dame), John Simon (Ohio State), Brodrick Brown (Oklahoma State), T.J. McDonald (USC), John Boyett (Oregon), Jordan Kovacs (Michigan) and Brandon Jenkins (Florida State). The 2011 LOTT IMPACT Trophy winner was Luke Kuechly from Boston College.

Several former NFL and college stars gathered on Monday for a luncheon to announce the 2012 watch list.

The first speakers were former Los Angeles Rams offensive linemen Jackie Slater and Doug Smith, who shared memories of their teammate Rich Saul, who passed away recently.

A pair of former NFL quarterbacks -- Jim Everett and Steve Beuerlein -- spoke about the rise of the spread offenses in the league.

Former rival coaches John Robinson (USC) and Terry Donahue (UCLA) spoke and it was mentioned that they played each other 10 times in college, with each coach winning five games. Donahue said he tried to get Lott to be a Bruin and even made a home recruiting trip.

“I have great memories of recruiting Ronnie Lott in high school,” Donahue said. “He was wearing a USC sweatshirt when I came to his home on a visit, I knew right away we were in trouble.”

Lott was the final speaker at the luncheon and he quickly paid tribute to his fellow Trojan Junior Seau, who died last week at the age of 43.

“Junior played the game the right way,” Lott said. “He paid respect to those who came before him and he treated everyone as his buddy. That’s what I think when I look out at this room and see people like Rosey Grier, Marlin Briscoe, Sam Cunningham. Guys who have accomplished so much and who have done it right. We can all do great things and that’s what this trophy is about, it’s about honoring young men who are doing things right, not only on the field but off the field as well. We’re very proud of that.”

The 2012 Lott IMPACT Trophy will be awarded on Dec. 9 at the Pacific Club with former United State Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice as the guest speaker.