Nov. 29, 2009
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - Eric Berry of Tennessee has been named a finalist for the sixth annual Lott Trophy, it was announced Saturday by The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation.
Berry is a junior safety from Fairburn, Ga., who was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore and is widely considered the best defensive back in the country. He was twice selected the Lott Player of the Week this season.
The annual Lott Trophy Banquet will be held Dec. 13 at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach, Calif., where the winner will be announced. The banquet will be televised live by Fox Sports West.
The other three finalists are Ndaumkong Suh of Nebraska, Rolando McClain of Alabama and Jerry Hughes of TCU. All four finalists will be in attendance at the banquet where the keynote speaker will be Peter Ueberroth.
Named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, the Lott Trophy is awarded to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Now in its sixth year, the Lott Trophy is the first college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player.
Sponsored by The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation in Newport Beach, the award is given to the player who exhibits the same characteristics Lott embodied during his distinguished career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.
Said former UCLA head coach Terry Donahue, a member of the Board of Directors of the IMPACT Foundation: "Berry is one of the most dominant players in the country. There is no better safety in college football today."
It is the first time Tennessee, TCU and Nebraska have had a finalist for the Lott Trophy. Alabama's DeMeco Ryans won the award in 2005.
Past winners of The Lott Trophy
2004 - David Pollack, Georgia
2005 - DeMeco Ryans, Alabama
2006 - Dante Hughes, California
2007 - Glenn Dorsey, LSU
2008 - James Laurinaitis, Ohio State
In five years, the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation has donated more than $650,000 to various charities, including $25,000 to each of the winners' universities.
Voters for the award include selected members of the national media, previous finalists, the Board of Directors of the IMPACT Foundation, the IMPACT Foundation Board of Advisors comprised of retired NFL players and the Legends Coaches, a distinguished group of former college head coaches.