May 20, 2014
NEWPORT NEWS, Calif. -- For the second year in a row, linebacker A.J. Johnson has been named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List
Now in its 11th year, the Lott IMPACT Trophy goes to the college football defensive player who has the biggest IMPACT on his team both on and off the field. IMPACT is an acronym for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.
Johnson returned to Tennessee for his senior season after another stellar campaign as a junior. A 2013 AP and Coaches All-SEC first-team selection, Johnson became the first Vol to record 100 tackles in back to back seasons since Earnest Fields did so in 1990-91 finishing his 2013 campaign with 106. Johnson also notched 8.5 tackles for a loss of 17 yards, tying a career high, while also recovering a fumble and breaking up three passes. Johnson notched five double-digit tackling efforts in 2013, bringing his career total to 18.
He currently sits in third place on the UT career assisted tackles list with 164. The Gainesville, Ga., native enters his final season on Rocky Top with 324 career tackles in 36 career games.
There are 17 linebackers on this year's list, 14 defensive backs and 11 defensive linemen. The Pac-12 with a dozen nominees leads the way followed by the SEC with eight, the ACC and Big-12 with seven each, the Big Ten with six and the Mountain West one along with one player from independent Notre Dame.
There are seven players from last year's Watch List on this year's list: Derron Smith of Fresno State, Bryce Hager of Baylor, Eric Kendricks of UCLA, Danny Shelton of Washington, A.J. Johnson of Tennessee, Deterrian Shackleford of Ole Miss and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu of Oregon.
Said John Hamilton, Chairman of the Board of the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, sponsors of the Lott IMPACT Trophy: "We continually strive to honor those young men who embrace the characteristics of Ronnie Lott and everything he stands for. Once again, we have a group of student-athletes who we believe live up to those very high standards and we look forward to watching them grow their already impressive resumes this fall."
The winner will be announced at the annual Lott IMPACT Trophy Banquet Dec. 14 at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach.
Last year's winner was Anthony Barr of UCLA.