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Big Ten Defenders Named to 2024 Lott IMPACT Trophy Watchlist

The Lott IMPACT Trophy is no stranger to the Big Ten and in 2024, a dozen defensive superstars are on the prestigious watchlist.

2024 marks the 21st year of the Lott IMPACT Trophy in college football. Each year, the award is given to an IMPACT defensive player of the year. IMPACT is an acronym standing for Integrity, Maturity, Pꦿerformance, Academics, Community, and Tenacity. In its 20 previous seasons, the Lott IMPACT Trophy has been awarded to 10 players from current Big Ten schools.

Thi♌s year, a dozen Big Ten defenders have been named to the Lott IMPACT🀅 Trophy watchlist.

Big Ten Defenders Named to 2024 Lott IMPACT Trophy Watchlist

A Trio of Buckeyes

There might not be another Ohio State defender with higher expectations than . The safety transferred from Alabama after winning the Shaun Alexander National Freshman of the Year, SEC Freshman of the Year, First-Team All-SEC, and PFF’s First-Team All-American team. In his true freshman season, he led the Tide with 107 tackles, marking the first time in Alabama’s storied history that a freshman led the way. Downs is one of five sophomores on the Lott IMPACT Trophy watchlist.

spurned the NFL to return to the Buckeyes for his senior season. He is coming off of a career-best season where he amassed 38 tackles, seven tackles for loss, five sacks, two pass breakups, and recovered a fumble. For his career, Tuimoloau has logged 45 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, six sacks, five quarterback hurries, and five pass breakups. He’s looking to make his third First-Team All-Big Ten in 2024.

The second member of the Lott IMPACT Trophy watchlist in the Ohio State secondary is fourth-year starter, . He’s a two-time All-Big Ten honoree with last season being his first First-Team selection. Burke is coming off a season where he totaled 24 tackles, three tackles for loss, broke up nine passes, forced a fumble, and hauled in an interception.

Two NFL-Ready Wolverines

One of the top defensive linemen in the nation, is set to lead Michigan in 2024☂. The junior took home Freshman All-American honors in 2022 a🐻nd then Second-Team All-American honors last season. He is coming off his first First-Team All-Big Ten selection and earned the Rose Bowl MVP in the win over Alabama in the College Football Playoff. Graham has amassed 63 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, over five sacks, two pass breakups, a forced fumble, and a recovered fumble.

A potential top-five pick in next year’s NFL Draft, was the Defensive MVP of the CFP National Championship. He’s coming off a season where he was selected as both a First-Team All-Big Ten and First-Team All-American. Last year, he contributed 27 tackles, one tackle for loss, eight pass breakups, and four interceptions (one pick-six).

A Nittany Lion Duo

is making a position change for Penn State in the fall. After earning First-Team All-Big Ten honors as a linebacker, Carter will be lining up as a defensive end. Last year, he made 48 tackles, five-and-a-half tac൩kles fo𓄧r loss, four-and-a-half sacks, five pass breakups, an interception, and a forced fumble.

has been an impact player ever since he got to Penn State. In 2022, he was a Freshman All-American honoree and earned Third-Team All-Big Ten honors last year. In his career, Dennis-Sutton has amassed 43 tackles, nine-and-a-half tackles for loss, six-and-a-hal⭕f sacks, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles, an interception, and a fumble recovery.

West Coast Best Coast

Oregon’s transferred in from fellow Pac-12-to-Big-Ten program, Washington. Oregon is Muhammad’s third school. He was an All-Big-12 at Oklahoma State in 2022 before moving to Washington. As a member of the Huskies’ secondary, Muhammad earned All-Pac-12 honors with 46 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks, three interceptions, and a school-record 16 pass breakups.

The second Big Ten sophomore on the Lott IMPACT Trophy is USC transfer safety, . For two years, Ramsey was with the cross-town rival, UCLA. He broke out with the Bruins last year with 40 ✤tackles, two-and-a-half tackles for loss, five pass breakups, and a pair of interceptions.

Three More to Round it Out

Last season, Purdue’s was one of the best freshmen in the nation. He earned National Defensive Freshman of the Year from the FWAA. Thieneman accounted for an impressive 106 tackles, two tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two recovered fumbles, and six interceptions. He finished with the third-most interceptions at the FBS level.

Iowa’s is one of the older players on the Lott IMPACT Trophy watchlist. The sixth-year senior was an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention in 2023. In his time, he’s totaled 141 tackles, three tackles for loss, 10 pass breakups, and three interceptions.

Finally, Indiana sophomore corner, followed Curt Cignetti from James Madison. He was College Football Network’s Freshman Cornerback of the Year and earned Freshman All-American honors. As a true freshman, Ponds accounted for 51 tackles, two tackles for loss, 13 pass breakups, two recovered fumbles, and two interceptions.

Photo Credit: Melanie Maxwell / USA TODAY NETWORK

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