The Lott IMPACT Trophy, awarded to college football’s defensive player of the year who best exemplifies the IMPACT acronym, will be presented tonight in Newport Beach with UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks among the four finalists.
The Lott IMPACT Trophy is the only college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player. It is the first national college football award based on the West Coast.
IMPACT is an acronym for integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity.
The 6-foot, 230-pound Kendricks was presented with the Butkus Award, which honors college football’s top linebacker, on Tuesday He leads the nation in solo tackles average per game, 8.0, and became UCLA’s all-time leading tackler with 471 in the final regular-season game against Stanford Nov. 28.
Kendricks is seeking to become the second consecutive Bruin to win the award. Then-UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr was last year’s winner and went on to be chosen in the first round of the NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings.
The other three finalists are Duke linebacker David Helton, Washington linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha and Alabama safety Landon Collins. Collins is a junior while the other three finalists are all seniors.
The general scholarship fund of the winner’s university will receive a $25,000 donation, while the other three finalists’ schools will each receive $5,000 from the IMPACT Foundation, which recognizes and supports national and local charities serving youths.
The award has been presented annually since 2004 and is named for Lott, who played safety for USC from 1977-80 and for four NFL teams from 1981-1995.
He was selected to both the college and professional football halls of fame.
Fox Sports rules analyst Mike Pereira, a former NFL vice president of officiating, will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony at The Pacific Club.
Former Secret Service Agent Tim McCarthy will receive an honorary Lott IMPACT Trophy. He was wounded in the 1981 assassination attempt of President Ronald Reagan. He is now chief of the Orland Park (Illinois) Police Department.
The ceremony will be shown live on Fox Sports West at 7 p.m.