Who are the top defensive players in college football? Welcome to the weekly Race to the Lott IMPACT Trophy, ranking the current five top candidates for the award.
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 Week 2’s Race For The Lott. If the season ended right now, the Lott IMPACT Trophy top five would be …
Week 2 Race For The Lott IMPACT Trophy Rankings
1. DE DeMarcus Walker, Florida State, Sr.
While Deondre Francois got all the attention in the big win over Ole Miss, it was Walker who changed the game around by spending the second half sitting on Rebel QB Chad Kelly. He currently leads the nation with 4.5 sacks – 3.5 against the Rebels – with eight tackles.
2. DE Duke Ejiofor, Wake Forest, Jr.
Yeah, Wake Forest is 2-0, and it’s all because of its defense. The catalyst has been Ejiofor with 11 tackles on the year with 3.5 sacks, 5.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. He destroyed Duke with three sacks and two forced fumbles.
3. LB Steven Taylor, Houston, Sr.
He owned Oklahoma with two sacks and some huge pops among his five tackles with a forced fumble. He followed it up with seven tackles in the layup over Lamar and now has 3.5 sacks and four tackles for loss with that forced fumble.
4. S Nate Holley, Kent State, Sr.
Not … his … fault. Kent State might be 0-2 and considered among the nation’s worst teams, but Holley has been brilliant making 30 tackles with two tackles for loss. One of the nation’s best all-around defenders over the last few years, he came up with 17 stops in the loss to Penn State and 13 more last week against North Carolina A&T.
5. LB/DB Jabrill Peppers, Michigan, Jr.
The experiment is working out just fine. Peppers leads the Wolverines with 16 tackles with four tackles for loss and as sack. He hasn’t done too much against the pass so far, but whatever – he’s been fantastic for an outstanding defense.
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 Anthony Nelson, Iowa, RFr.