Dec. 13, 2010
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- There are going to be some major renovations to the Wisconsin football team's trophy room after this season. Continuing the trend of adding new hardware, UW junior DE J.J. Watt was named the 2010 Lott IMPACT Trophy winner Sunday night at a banquet in Newport Beach, Calif.
"This is unbelievable," Watt said during the banquet. "This is definitely one of the best moments of my life thus far. It is such an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as Ronnie Lott. I have to give a lot of credit to my mother and father for raising me and teaching me good morals and values."
Named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, the Lott is awarded to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Now in its seventh year, the Lott 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.
Wisconsin will receive $25,000 for its general scholarship fund in recognition of Watt's achievement.
Watt becomes the first Wisconsin player to earn the Lott IMPACT Trophy. Former Badger Jim Leonhard was a finalist for the inaugural award, in 2004. Past winners of the award include David Pollack of Georgia (2004), DeMeco Ryans of Alabama (2005), Dante Hughes of California (2006), Glenn Dorsey of LSU (2007), James Laurinaitis of Ohio State (2008) and Jerry Hughes of TCU (2009).
Watt was the leader of Wisconsin's defense this season, ranking third in the country in tackles for loss (21). A consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection, Watt is tied for second in the Big Ten in sacks (7.0), forced fumbles (3) and tied for third with two fumble recoveries. He is tied for second on the team in tackles (59), leads the team with 10 quarterback hurries and has also blocked three kicks and recorded an interception.
A second-team All-American by Walter Camp, Rivals.com and CBSSports.com, Watt was named Lott IMPACT Defensive Player of the Week three times during the season.
In addition to his skills on the field, Watt is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten performer, and is in the process of starting his own foundation, the Justin J. Watt Foundation to benefit local elementary and middle schools that lack funding for after school sports and activities.
Even though they didn't have a game, it was a very productive week for the Badgers. On Tuesday night in New York City, Director of Athletics and former football coach Barry Alvarez was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and senior QB Scott Tolzien was recognized as one of 16 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes. On Thursday night at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show in Orlando, senior LT Gabe Carimi was named the 2010 Outland Trophy winner. On Friday night in Baltimore, Tolzien received the 2010 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.