Berry is a 5-11, 195-pound sophomore from Fairburn, Ga. He has five interceptions on the season and already has broken the SEC career record for interception return yards (397). He was the Lott Trophy IMPACT Player of the Week presented by Wachovia in Week VIII.
Named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, The Lott Trophy is awarded to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Now in its fifth year, The Lott Trophy is the first and only college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player.
"This is another impressive list of candidates," said Bob Cristiano, the President of the IMPACT Foundation, the sponsors of the award. "They represent the best in college football and a great cross-section of our country. It will be difficult to single out just one of these outstanding student-athletes."
Seven different conferences are represented on the list of 20, with the Southeastern Conference's five candidates leading the way. Ohio State (James Laurinaitis, Malcolm Jenkins) is the only school with two quarterfinalists. There are nine linebackers on the list, seven defensive linemen and four defensive backs. While there are 10 seniors on the list, there are also nine juniors (and one sophomore, Berry), the most underclassmen to make the quarter-finalist Lott Trophy Watch List.
Sponsored by The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, the Lott award is given to a player who exhibits the same characteristics Lott embodied during his distinguished career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.
David Pollack of Georgia, DeMeco Ryans of Alabama, Dante Hughes of California and Glenn Dorsey of LSU were the winners of the first four Lott Trophies. Georgia, Alabama, Cal and LSU each received $25,000 for their general scholarship funds. In four years, the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation has donated $450,000 to various charities, in addition to the universities.
Voters for the award include selected members of the national media, previous finalists, the Board of Directors of the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation and Legends Coaches, a distinguished group of former head college coaches. The watch list will be trimmed to eight semifinalists on Nov. 11 and the four finalists, who all will be flown into California for the banquet, will be announced Nov. 26.
The winner will be announced at a gala black-tie banquet at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach on Dec. 14. The keynote speaker for the sold-out banquet will be long-time college football announcer Keith Jackson.
The 20 Quarterfinalists: Asher Allen, Jr., DB, Georgia; ERIC BERRY, SO., DB, TENNESSEE; Aaron Curry, Sr., LB, Wake Forest; Brian Cushing, Sr., LB, Southern California; Zack Follett, Sr., LB, California; Mark Herzlich, Jr., LB, Boston College; George Hypolite, Sr., DT, Colorado; Jeremy Jarmon, Jr., DL, Kentucky; Malcolm Jenkins, Sr., DB, Ohio State; Jan Jorgensen, Jr., DE, Brigham Young; James Laurinaitis, Sr., LB, Ohio State; Scott McKillop, Sr., LB, Pittsburgh; Brit Miller, Sr., LB, Illinois; Eric Norwood, Jr., LB, South Carolina; Brian Orakpo, Sr., DE, Texas; Nick Reed, Sr., DE, Oregon; Myron Rolle, Jr., S, Florida State; George Selvie, Jr., DE, South Florida; Brandon Spikes, Jr., LB, Florida; Sean Weatherspoon, Jr., LB, Missouri.