2019 Preseason Award Projections: Lott IMPACT Trophy

By Charlie Campbell
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Heading into the 2019 college football season, WalterFootball.com will debut our projections for the nation’s leaders during the fall. The All-American teams always have some surprises, and the next fall’s stars could be the headline players next April for the 2020 NFL Draft. We also will project the winners of the postseason awards that are given out to the best of college football.

The Lott IMPACT Trophy is given to the top Defensive Impact Player of the Year in college football. Last year’s winner was Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen.

Lott IMPACT Trophy Winner:

Paddy Fisher, LB, Northwestern

The Lott Trophy has a big inclination towards linebackers. A linebacker has won the award in five out of the last seven years. In this decade, the award has gone to a non-linebacker with Carl Nassib, J.J. Watt and Jabrill Peppers. In 14 years, only five times has it gone to a non-linebacker.

Fisher may not be an elite NFL prospect in his draft class, but he is a well-known defender who has been a good college player for the Wildcats. In 2018, Fisher totaled 117 tackles with five tackles for a loss, one sack, two passes batted and a forced fumble. He is a tough linebacker and very good run defender. Fisher was a breakout performer in 2017. The redshirt freshman was one of the best linebackers in the Big Ten and was always around the ball for the Wildcats. On the year, he totaled 113 tackles with nine for a loss, four forced fumbles, three passes batted and one interception. If Fisher produces another big tackle total, I could see him winning some postseason awards, including the Lott Trophy.

Lott IMPACT Trophy Runner-Up:

Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma

By looking at the stat line, Murray should be a favorite to win a lot of awards this fall as he was a tackling machine for the Sooners in 2018. He was one of the nation’s leaders with 155 stops, which is an especially huge number considering he plays in a passing conference. Murray also added 12.5 tackles for a loss with two passes batted. If Murray can stay consistent with his 2018 production. he should have a lot of awards coming his direction at the end of 2019 and definitely could end up winning the Lott Trophy.

Lott IMPACT Trophy Dark Horse:

Troy Dye, Oregon

Dye has been a good defender for the Ducks over the past three seasons. His best season came as a junior in 2018 when he totaled 115 tackles with eight tackles for a loss, two sacks, one interception and eight passes defended. Dye has shown progress in pass coverage over his time at Oregon, and as a freshman, he had 91 tackles with 13 for a loss, 6.5 sacks and an interception. He had 107 tackles in 2017. Dye should be one of the top linebackers in college football as a senior, and if his tackle total increases, I could see him winning the Lott Award.

Honorable Mentions: Ohio State DE Chase Young, Auburn DT Derrick Brown, Alabama DT Raekwon Davis, Penn State DE Yetur Gross-Matos, Auburn DE Nick Coe, Iowa DE A.J. Epenesa, Northwestern LB Paddy Fisher, Utah State LB Tipa Galeai, Alabama LB Anfernee Jennings, Mississippi State LB Willie Gay Jr., Michigan LB Josh Uche, LSU LB Michael Divinity, Tennessee LB Darrell Taylor, Clemson S Isaiah Simmons, Florida CB C.J. Henderson, Alabama CB Trevon Diggs, Utah CB Jaylon Johnson, Mississippi State CB Cameron Dantzler, Alabama S Xavier McKinney and Alabama CB/S Shyheim Carter.

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