The Big Ten tied for the conference lead with five student-athletes being named quarterfinalists for the annual Lott IMPACT Trophy, which is awarded to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. The Big Ten's five quarterfinalists are Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones, the Ohio State duo of defensive tackle Cameron Heyward and linebacker Ross Homan, Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan and Wisconsin defensive end JJ Watt. The Big Ten and Big 12 led all conferences with five quarterfinalists each, followed by the Pac-10 (four), ACC (three) and SEC (three).
Named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott and now in its seventh year, the Lott Trophy is the first - and only -- college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player. 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. Below is information on each of the Big Ten quarterfinalists:
Greg Jones, LB, Michigan State, 6-1, 228, Cincinnati, Ohio
Has 60 tackles on the season, among the leaders in the country... three forced fumbles ... Michigan State 7-0 first time in 44 years.
Cameron Heyward, DT, Ohio State, 6-6, 287, Suwanee, Ga.
Has 20 tackles, one interception for an 80-yard return.
Ross Homan, LB, Ohio State, 6-0, 229, Coldwater, Ohio
Lott IMPACT Player of the Week Sept. 18 ... Leads team in tackles with 41, has an interception, a sack and a fumble recovery.
Ryan Kerrigan, DL, Purdue, 6-4, 263, Muncie, Ind.
Second in the country with 14 tackles for losses, 5.5 sacks... second in nation among linemen with 41 tackles, which leads team ... 2009 Academic All-American
JJ Watt, DE, Wisconsin, 6-6, 287, Pewaukee, Wis.
30 tackles this season with 10.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, six pass breakups, four quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and a blocked kick ... Academic All-Big Ten