Who are the top defensive players in college football? Welcome to the weekly Race to the Lott IMPACT Trophy, ranking the current CFN five top defensive players.
Let’s be honest – the Heisman Trophy is about who the best quarterback or running back is. The Lott IMPACT Trophy – named after the legendary Ronnie Lott – is for the top defensive player. Welcome to the CollegeFootballNews.com Defensive Player of the Year Rankings after Week 3…
CFN Defensive Player of the Year Rankings After Week 3
1. LB Steven Taylor, Houston, Sr.
The nation’s leader in sacks with 5.5 to go along with 21 tackles, the senior Houston linebacker all but put away the Cincinnati game with his 71-yard pick six. He came up with six sacks with a season-high nine tackles against the Bearcats.
2. LB/DB Jabrill Peppers, Michigan, Jr.
While he’ll get on the highlight reel for his kick return ability and all-around play, he’s rocking as a linebacker, too, leading the nation with 9.5 tackles for loss to go along with 28 tackles and two sacks. A future NFL safety, he has yet to break up a pass – it doesn’t matter. He’s doing everything else.
3. DE Duke Ejiofor, Wake Forest, Jr.
The main man behind a stunning Wake Forest season, he came up with a sack with three tackles against Delaware. He now has 4.5 sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles for a the breakthrough Demon Deacon D.
4. S Nate Holley, Kent State, Sr.
The best player you haven’t seen, the veteran safety has been a hitting machine – not a shocker considering what he’s done so far in his career – with 47 tackles with two tackles for loss on the year. Like another linebacker, he had his second 17-stop game of the season doing it in the 27-7 win over Monmouth.
5. DE Arden Key, LSU, Soph.
Not everything has started out ugly for LSU. Key has grown into a superstar pass rusher with five so far with 14 tackles, coming up with two sacks and a forced fumble against Mississippi State along with two sacks against Wisconsin and one against Jacksonville State.
In the green room waiting for a call
DT/DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama, Sr.; LB Reuben Foster, Alabama, Sr.; S Malik Hooker, Ohio State, Soph.; DE DeMarcus Walker, Florida State, Sr.