The Lott Trophy honors the college football Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. The student-athlete is judged on both his on-field performance and his off-field performance. The Lott Trophy is the only sports award based on personal character and is appropriately named after Ronnie Lott, the legendary defensive back, who had Hall of Fame careers at both the college (USC) and professional (49ers, Raiders, Jets) levels. Previous winners were David Pollack of Georgia (2004); DeMeco Ryans of Alabama (2005); and Daymeion Hughes of California (2006).
Leman has already graduated and will complete his Master's degree in December. He was a unanimous All-Big Ten choice, a mid-season All-American and a finalist for the Draddy Trophy for academic excellence. The Illini captain is a senior from Champaign with 124 tackles, 40 more than anyone else on the team. Illinois was the most improved team in the country, going from just 2 wins in '06 to 9-3 this season
Voting for the winner was conducted by Ernst & Young with ballots being sent to college offensive and defensive coordinators, national media, The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation Board of Directors, a Board of Advisors made up of former NFL players and coaches along with the 17 members of the Master Coaches.
The winner will be announced on Dec. 9th at a gala black-tie Awards Banquet at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach, Ca. All four finalists will be flown to Newport Beach for the banquet. The winner's university will receive $25,000 for its general scholarship fund while the three runnerups will receive $5,000 each for their schools.
The Banquet, which will be televised live by Fox Sports Net, will also feature a tribute to the late Bill Walsh, a founding Board member of the IMPACT Foundation; and the presentation to Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen with a Lifetime IMPACT Award.
Information courtesy of the U of I SID office