The Lott IMPACT Trophy, an annual defensive college football award named after NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott honors College Football’s Best in Character and Performance.
Carolina Panthers LB Luke Kuechly was the 2011 recipient of this prestigious award, and it is becoming more and more apparent that the Trophy’s national voting panel made a great selection, as Kuechly continues to excel and get recognized for his efforts both on and off the field having recently been nominated NFL Defensive Player of The Year. This is the second consecutive year that a Lott IMPACT Trophy winner was recognized as the top defensive player in the NFL, as J.J. Watt (Wisconsin and the Houston Texans) was the 2012 Lott IMPACT Trophy Winner.
As the agency of record of The Lott IMPACT Trophy, HallPass Media is proud to be associated with a college football award that embodies all of the ideals that we stand for, and very proud of the fine young men like Kuechly and Watt that this award celebrates.
Congratulations to Mr. Kuechly on a great season, both on and off the field. We are proud of you. Below is the story featured on NFL.com announcing the winner of the award.
Panthers’ Luke Kuechly is Defensive Player of the Year
Kuechly was announced as the 2013 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year on Saturday at “NFL Honors.” The voters chose Kuechly for his his all-around play at middle linebacker. He’s excellent in pass coverage and a terrific run defender. Kuechly is the type of rangy linebacker who practically didn’t exist a decade ago.
We suspect that Kuechly won the award based on his ridiculous Week 16 performance against the New Orleans Saints. He showed off his skills in pursuit (24 tackles) and in coverage with a terrific interception of Drew Brees. In a season with a ton of DPOY candidates, voters were waiting for a transcendent performance by a player on a contending team. They got it in Week 16.
Kuechly is one of the best young players in the league, but we don’t think he had the best season in 2013. He wasn’t even the best middle linebacker. The 49ers’ NaVarro Bowman, in many ways, had the season that people thought Kuechly had. Bowman would have been my choice for the award. Seahawks safety Earl Thomas and his teammate, cornerback Richard Sherman, both made good cases for the award.
Rams defensive end Robert Quinn had the most consistently dominant performances of the season, but he was penalized for not playing on a winning team. The Texans’ J.J. Watt had a better overall 2013 than Kuechly, and Colts pass rusher Robert Mathis also was a strong candidate in a season without any choices.
Ultimately, Kuechly was rewarded for being the best defender on a Panthers defense that dramatically improved under Ron Rivera in 2013. Teammates like Greg Hardy, Thomas Davis and Charles Johnson all deserve an assist.