The Lott IMPACT Trophy has been presented annually since 2004 to the college football Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. The award is based on the personal character of the player and athletic performance. IMPACT stands for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community, and Tenacity.
The Michigan Wolverines have two players on the 2016 watch list for this trophy. Jourdan Lewis, a senior All-American cornerback, and Jabrill Peppers, a sophomore linebacker/safety, will be competing all season to take home the prestigious award. The Lott IMPACT Trophy is named in honor of defensive back Ronnie Lott, who played for the USC Trojans and San Francisco 49ers. Lott is a part of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In 2015, the award was won by Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib, who is now an outside linebacker for the Cleveland Browns after being taken with the 65th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Lewis has been a leader for Michigan since his first day on the job but found his groove last season. In 2015, the All-Big Ten performer made 52 tackles and logged two interceptions. Through the first 10 games of his junior year, Lewis has 20 breakups to set a new Michigan record. By the end of the year, he had 21 pass breakups, which beat out the previous record of 18 breakups by Marlin Jackson in 2002 and Leon Hall in 2006.
Peppers returned kicks and punts for the Maize and Blue last season while playing some running back and starting on the defensive side of the ball. After making 45 tackles last season, Peppers has moved to linebacker this spring and will look to solidify a role at the position under new defensive coordinator Don Brown. With Peppers' speed at the line of scrimmage and ability to drop back into coverage should give defense many different options.
"He’s a smart football player that can take on a lot and we’re going to ask him to take on a lot," said linebackers coach Chris Partridge, who also coached Peppers in high school, per ESPN. "I think the sky’s the limit on what positions he can play. We might even line him up at nose tackle this year if we can."
Along with Lewis and Peppers, the watch list includes: Jamal Adams (LSU), Sean Ahern (Harvard), Joey Alfieri (Stanford), Jonathan Allen (Alabama), Dante Barnett (Kansas State), Derek Barnett (Tennessee), Evan Berry (Tennessee), Quin Blanding (Virginia), Ben Boulware (Clemson), Riley Bullough (Michigan State), Jason Cabinda (Penn State), Josh Carraway (TCU), Jack Cichy (Wisconsin), Myles Garrett (Texas A&M), Dylan Haines (Texas), Charles Harris (Missouri), Adoree' Jackson (USC), Eddie Jackson (Alabama), Derwin James (Florida State), Joshua Kalu (Nebraska), Andrew King (Army), Desmond King (Iowa), Micah Kiser (Virginia), William Likely (Maryland), Dallas Lloyd (Stanford), Cameron Malveaux (Houston), James McFarland (TCU), Raekwon McMillan (Ohio State), Viliami Moeakiola (Arizona State), Calvin Munson (San Diego State), Cameron Smith (USC), Arrion Springs (Oregon), Weston Steelhammer (Air Force), M.J. Stewart (North Carolina), Jordan Thomas (Oklahoma), Drue Tranquill (Notre Dame), Anthony Walker (Northwestern), Jordan Whitehead (Pitt), Tim Williams (Alabama) and A.J. Wolf (Duke).
Earlier this week, junior center Mason Cole was named to the Rimington Trophy early watch list for the nation's top center. Expect more and more Wolverines to land on different watch lists in the future weeks.