John Simon Named to Lott IMPACT Award watch list
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — If the spring was any indication, John Simon should be one of the best defensive player in the Big Ten this fall, if not the country.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Working with 14-year NFL veteran Mike Vrabel during spring camp, Simon became an unstoppable force during Urban Meyer’s first 15 practices at Ohio State. He certainly looks like an impact player for the Buckeyes, and the senior defensive lineman was named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list on Monday.
An exercise science major from Youngstown, Ohio (Cardinal Mooney), Simon was a semifinalist last year, and he is one of seven players from last season to make the list again this year.
“Each year we are proud to present a list of college football players who exemplify the things we believe in,” said Ronnie Lott, for whom the award is named.
“This group is no exception. These young men are terrific players and great role models, both on and off the field.”
The Lott IMPACT Trophy was established by The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation in 2004 to honor college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. It is named of Lott, a two-time All -American safety for USC and College Football Hall of Fame inductee.
Known for his fierce competitive drive, Lott went on to win four Super Bowl rings with the San Francisco 49ers. He also made 10 trips to the Pro Bowl and now has an eternal spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Already set to be a team captain for a second consecutive year in 2012, Simon enters the 2012 campaign with 28 career TFLs, 11.5 quarterback sacks and six passes defended. He was a third-team Associated Press All-American last year and he was named first-team All-Big Ten Conference by the league’s coaches after a 53-tackle season that included 16 tackles-for-loss (for minus-59 yards) and seven quarterback sacks.
He was also named Ohio State’s Bill Willis Award winner as the team’s outstanding defensive player following last season.
The 2012 watch list includes 2011 finalist Manti Te’o of Notre Dame. One other semifinalist from 2011 besides Simon – Brodrick Brown of Oklahoma State – is on the 2012 watch list, as are quarterfinalists T.J. McDonald of USC, John Boyett of Oregon and Jordan Kovacs of Michigan. Brandon Jenkins of Florida State rounds out the returning nominees.
Joining them on the 2012 watch list this year are Wisconsin linebackers Chris Borland and Mike Taylor, Michigan State linebacker Max Bullough, Nebraska defensive tackle Baker Steinkuhler, Penn State linebacker Gerald Hodges, Purdue defensive tackle Kawaan Short and Illinois linebacker Jonathan Brown.
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