Trey Miller, Manti Te'o

Manti Te’o headlines 2012 Lott Trophy watch list


You know what this means, right?  Yep, the 2012 season is slowly creeping up on us.

In the first of many, many of these to be released, the Lott Impact Trophy Award announced its watch list for the upcoming season.  A total of 42 players from 37 schools and six conferences were represented on the initial watch list.

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o is the only finalist for the 2011 award, won by Boston College LB Luke Kuechly, on the 2012 watch list.  There are two 2011 semifinalists on the list — Ohio State defensive lineman John Simon and Oklahoma State cornerback Brodrick Brown.

The Big Ten paced all conferences with nine players on the list, followed by the Pac-12 with eight, the ACC and Big 12 with seven, the SEC with five and the Mountain West with two.  Four players from independent programs are also among the first round of honorees.

A total of five schools were represented by two players each on the list — Florida State, Iowa State, LSU, Texas and Wisconsin.

Of the 42 players, 28 are seniors and 12 are juniors.  There are just two sophomores on the initial watch list — Georgia LB Jarvis Jones and Purdue defensive tackle Kawaan Short.

Named after Pro Football Hall of Fame member, Ronnie Lott, The Lott Trophy is awarded to college football’s Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Founded in 2004, 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 Lott Trophy is given to the player who exhibits the same characteristics Lott embodied during his distinguished career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity. Voters for the award include selected members of the national media, previous finalists, the Board of Directors of the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation and the Legends Coaches, which is a distinguished group of former college football head coaches.

Below and after the jump is the complete 2012 Lott Trophy watch list:

David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State
Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Chris Borland, LB,. Wisconsin
John Boyett, FS. Oregon
Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
Brodrick Brown, CB, Oklahoma State
Jonathan Brown, LB, Illinois
Max Bullough, LB, Michigan State
Tra’ves Bush, S, Navy
Kyle Fuller, DB, Virginia Tech
Steve Greer, LB, Virginia
Gerald Hodges, LB, Penn State
Demontre Hurst, DB, Oklahoma
Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State
Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
A.J. Klein, LB, Iowa State
Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State
Jordan Kovacs, S, Michigan
Patrick Larimore, LB, UCLA
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Brandon Magee, LB, Arizona State
T.J. McDonald, S, USC
Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
Brandon Ogletree, LB, BYU
Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
J.C. Percy, LB, Boise State
Ray Polk, S, Colorado
Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
Kevin Reddick, LB, North Carolina
Eric Reid, S, LSU
Luke Ruff, S, Wyoming
Kawaan Short, DT, Purdue
John Simon, DT, Ohio State
Baker Steinkuhler, DT, Nebraska
Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin
Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford
Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland
Bjoern Warner, DE, Florida State
Zach Watts, LB, Army
Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama

Starting LB C.J. Johnson reveals surgery on social media, Ole Miss confirms

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Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.

With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future.  The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.

Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.  The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.

At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas.  The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.

Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels.  He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.