David Baker, the president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, couldn’t help but laugh Friday at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach, where he told the story about giving Ray Guy some good news.
Everyone in attendance for the Ronnie Lott IMPACT (Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community, Tenacity) Trophy Watch List Luncheon also laughed.
Baker said he heard what he thought was Guy drop to the ground and then someone asking Guy if he was OK, as Baker told the punter he was going into the Hall of Fame.
Guy, who had been eligible for the Hall for 29 years, nine times as a finalist, became the first punter in the Hall of Fame.
“It was two minutes he was off the phone, which is an eternity when you are trying to get someone for live TV,” Baker said. “Finally he got up. But I thought I killed my first Hall of Famer.”
Baker, the guest speaker at the luncheon, where he did a short Q & A with emcee Joe Klatt of Fox Sports, said the Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list players are just as estatic as Guy to win the award named after one of the hardest hitting safeties of all time.
The watch list players don’t get an opportunity to wear a gold blazer or have a bust, but the eventual finalists receive a wonderful visit to Newport Beach. The winner gets the trophy and poses with one of the best defensive players of all time, a Hall of Famer, a rugged defensive back respected by basically everyone.
“They’re all going to make an impact,” Baker said of the watch list players.
The award is given to college football’s best defensive player, not only on the field, but also for great works of character in his community.
In its 12th year, Klatt talked about how the Lott Trophy is gaining more notoreity and it has become prestigious.
In addition, the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation has donated $1,147,160 to charitable orginazations and universities.
This year’s Lott Trophy Award Dinner will take place Dec. 13 at the Pacific Club.
The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation announced two $10,000 donations on Friday. One went to Miracle for Kids, a non-profit based in Southern California that provides assistance to families of children battling life-threatening illnesses.
And the other $10,000 donation went to Seven Stars Foundation, which assists children of wounded and fallen military members.
Former NFL players Ron Yary, Jesse Sapolu and Kermit Alexander attended the luncheon, as did former UCLA Coach Terry Donahue, a Balboa Island resident, and former USC Coach John Robinson.
Donahue spoke briefly about the California Showcase, a one-day event that provides athletes to perform for college coaches.
Donahue said during the three years of the event there has been over 300 athletes picked up by NCAA Division II and III, and NAIA programs. The average scholarship of the players is just over $20,000.
Also at the luncheon, Estancia High’s Ronnie Urquiza and Julian Mendoza of Segerstrom were recognized as past recipients of the IMPACT Leadership Academy, which features mentoring from a Hall of Famer and a visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio for the annual induction ceremony festivities.
Vincent Coglianese, a Marine Major General, was also in attendance and was honored with a standing ovation.
The 2015 Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List (42)
KEVIN ANDERSON, LB, Stanford (6-4, 245, Palo Alto): Pac-12 honorable mention in first year as a starter last season…Had 52 tackles, 11.5 tackles for losses and 5.5 sacks…Had an interception return for a 40-yard touchdown in 2013 Rose Bowl against Michigan.
DANTE BARNETT, S, Kansas State (6-1, 186, Tulsa): All-Big 12 performer…Had 77 tackles last year with 11 passes defended…7 career interceptions…Commissioner’s Honor Roll…Heavy volunteer work at schools and senior centers.
JOE BOLDEN, LB, Michigan (6-3, 232, Cincinnati): Michigan Athlete Academic Achievement Awards recipient…2nd on team with 102 tackles as a junior.
BRIEAN BOODY-CALHOUN, DB, Minnesota (5-11, 190, Wilmington, Delaware): Won both All-Big Ten recognition and All-Big Ten academic recognition…Had 5 interceptions and 51 tackles last season.
JOEY BOSA, DE, Ohio State (6-6, 278, Ft. Lauderdale): Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year…Only unanimous selection on All-Big Ten team…and unanimous All-American...Led Buckeyes with 21 tackles for losses, 13.5 sacks and four forced fumbles…Recorded 55 tackles for National Champions…Ohio State scholar-athlete..Strong candidate to be No. 1 overall draft pick next year.
KELBY BROWN, LB, Duke (6-2, 230, Matthews, North Carolina): Sixth year player…Has had three ACL surgeries (2010, 2012, 2014)…Missed last season with the injury…Had 114 tackles in 2013 and was an All-ACC choice…Also an academic All-ACC selection…Frosh All-American…Grad student pursuing a degree in Christian studies.
DeFOREST BUCKNER, DE, Oregon (6-7, 290, Waianae, Hawaii): Led Ducks in tackles for losses (13). Had 81 tackles, 4 sacks…Named 2nd team All-Pac 12…High school basketball star.
MICHAEL CAPUTO, S, Wisconsin (6-1, 212, Imperial, Pa.): Led team in tackles with 106…Had six tackles for losses, recovered four fumbles…All-Big Ten honorable mention…Coaches basketball in Special Olympics, member of JROTC Marines, DARE Instructor.
SHILIQUE CALHOUN, DE, Michigan State (6-3, 256, Middleton, NJ): Repeat nominee... Had 12.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, 39 tackles, eight quarterback hurries and one fumble recovery for 38 yards.
JEREMY CASH, S, Duke (6-2, 205, Miami): All-ACC and All-American…Had 111 tackles last season, 121 as a sophomore…Psychology major with a minor in evolutionary anthropology.
SU’A CRAVENS, S, USC (6-1, 225, Los Angeles): Led Trojans with 17.5 tackles for loss (among top 25 in the nation)…Had 68 tackles, five sacks and three interceptions…Defended 12 passes…First team All-Pac-12 selection…Named top high school defensive player of the year in 2012 at Vista Murietta High.
LEONARD FLOYD, LB, Georgia (6-4, 230, Eastman, Georgia): Defensive team MVP last season when he had 55 tackles, 8.5 tackles for losses and 6 sacks, which led the team…Honorable mention All-SEC.
KENDALL FULLER, CB, Virginia Tech (6-0, 190, Baltimore): Named 2nd team All-American last season…All-ACC first team…Had 54 tackles, 4.5 tackles for losses and broke up 15 passes…Frosh All-American…
NATE GERRY, DB, Nebraska (6-2, 205, Sioux Falls, SD): Had five interceptions (most on the team), 88 tackles (2nd on team), 7 tackles for losses and two fumble recoveries…Honorable mention All-Big Ten.
ADAM GOTSIS, DL, Georgia Tech (6-5, 285, Abbotsford, Australia): 2nd team All-ACC…36 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, two blocked kicks…On dean’s list and academic honor roll.
DEON HOLLINS, LB, UCLA (6-0, 225, Houston): Led Bruins with nine sacks last year…Had 3 sacks in bowl win over Kansas State…Named Most Improved Bruin…On Athletic Director’s Honor Roll.
DYLAN HAINES, S, Texas (6-1, 194, Lago Vista, Texas): Two-time Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll…Academic All-Big 12…Had 86 tackles last season, 4 interceptions (one for a 74-yard touchdown return)…Honorable mention All-Big 12.
VERNON HARGREAVES, CB, Florida (5-11, 195, Tampa): Was named All-SEC first team as both a freshman and sophomore (unanimous)…On three All-America teams last year…Had 50 tackles and three interceptions in 2014…Broke up 13 passes…SEC Academic Honor Roll…Father is the linebacker coach at Houston.
RYAN JANVION, S, Wake Forest (5-11, 190, Miami): Led team in tackles last season with 115…Had 7.5 tackles for loss... Academic All-District with a 3.65 GPA, majoring in business…Did PSA public service commercial for United Way…Redshirt junior.
JONATHAN JONES, CB, Auburn (5-10, 182, Carroliton, Georgia); Second team All-SEC who led team with six interceptions last season…Had 36 total tackles and broke up team best 11 passes.
KARL JOSEPH, S, West Virginia (5-11, 196, Orlando): Team captain who was a Lott nominee last year... His 92 tackles were second on the team last season…Has started every game in his career, 38 total...Academic honor roll student.
BRONSON KAUFUSI, LB, BYU (6-7, 265, Provo): Led Cougars in tackles for loss (11.5), sacks (7) and quarterback hurries (7)…Named All-Independent team and was twice Independent Defensive Player of the Week…Father Steve is the Defensive Line Coach at BYU.
DERRICK KINDRED, S, TCU (5-10, 210, San Antonio): All-Big 12 selection. Recorded 79 tackles and had 4 interceptions.
JORDAN LOMAX, S, Iowa (5-10, 205, Upper Marlboro, Maryland): Two-time Academic All-Big Ten…GPA is 3.52, majoring in economics…Had a 4.0 GPA in high school…On Iowa Leadership Group…Won team hustle award for defense and special teams in 2014 when he recorded 92 total tackles.
DEAN LOWRY, DE, Northwestern (6-6, 280, Rockford, Illinois): Academic All-Big Ten…Honorable Mention All-Big Ten as a junior when he had 41 tackles and 8 tackles for losses…High school scholar-athlete who was recognized for excellence in business law and marketing
BLAKE MARTINEZ, LB, Stanford (6-2, 247, Tucson): Honorable mention All-Pac 12…Honorable mention Pac-12 All-Academic…Led team with 102 tackles last season…Had seven tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks. 3 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles.
LAUI MOEAKIOLA, LB, Arizona State (6-1, 215, Euless, Texas): Honorable mention All-Pac 12…Recorded 72 tackles with 10.5 tackles for losses and five quarterback sacks.
CALVIN MUNSON, LB, San Diego State (6-1, 235, St. Charles, Mo.): Aztecs’ Defensive Player of the Year last season as a sophomore when he had 78 tackles and 10.5 tackles for loss…Honorable mention All-Mountain West…He had 193 tackles his senior year in high school when he was named Missouri Defensive Player of the Year.
ROBERT NKEMDICHE, DE, Ole Miss (6-4, 280, Loganville, Georgia): All-American, All-SEC. Anchored defense that led Rebels to best regular season record in school history. Frosh All-American, too.
JARED NORRIS, LB, Utah (6-2, 237, Bakersfield): Led team with 116 tackles last season…Had 13 tackles for losses, 4 sacks…Honorable mention All-Pac 12…Honorable mention Academic-All Conference
SHAWN OAKMAN, DE, Baylor (6-9, 280, Lansdowne, Pa.): All-American who had 19.5 tackles for loss (10th in the country) and 11 sacks…Forced 3 fumbles and recovered 3 fumbles…Total of 51 tackles…Two-time All-Big 12 selection…Penn State transfer…Tallest player ever on Lott Watch List.
EMMANUEL OGBAH, DE, Oklahoma State (6-4, 270, Houston): Nigerian born led team with 17 tackles for losses and 11 sacks…49 total tackles…first team All-Big 12 performer…2nd team Academic All-Big 12.
JOSHUA PERRY, LB, Ohio State (6-4, 252, Galena, Ohio): His 124 tackles led National Champion Ohio State by 32 tackles…Had 8.5 tackles for loss and three sacks…2nd team All-Big Ten…Ohio State Scholar-Athlete…Interned at Continental Realty last year.
REGGIE RAGLAND, LB, Alabama (6-2, 254, Madison, Alabama): All SEC selection as a junior…2nd on the team with 95 tackles…Had 10.5 tackles for loss, 3 fumble recoveries.
JALEN RAMSEY, CB, Florida State (6-1, 204, Smyrna, Tennessee): 2nd team All-American last year…Had 79 tackles, 9.5 tackles for losses…broke up 12 passes and was credited with 14 passes defended, both team best…Finished 3rd in ACC long jump (25 feet) and was a member of sprint relay team.
SHELDON RANKINS, DT, Louisville (6-2, 305, Covington, Georgia): Led team with 13.5 tackles for losses and 8 sacks…Had 53 total tackles…Also had two interceptions as a defensive tackle…Named 3rd team All-ACC.
JAYLON SMITH, LB, Notre Dame (6-3, 235, Ft. Wayne, Indiana): His 112 tackles and nine tackles for loss led the Irish. On Lott Watch list last season.
WESTON STEELHAMMER, S, Air Force Academy (6-2, 200, Shreveport, Louisiana): National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete in high school…Led team with six interceptions last season…Recovered two fumbles, had 61 tackles and six tackles for losses.
ERIC STRIKER, LB, Oklahoma (6-0, 225, Seffner, Fl.): Two-time all-conference selection…3rd team All-American last year…On Lott Trophy Watch List a year ago…Had 17 tackles for loss (among top 25 in nation), 9 sacks and 68 total tackles in 2014…For his career, he has 124 tackles and 27.5 tackles for losses.
JEREMY TIMPF, LB, Army (6-1, 225, Tucson): Had 117 tackles to lead the Black Knights…Also had team best 14.5 tackles for losses…Returned one of his three interceptions for a touchdown…Was named first-team All-Independent and twice was Independent Defensive Player of the Week.
SCOOBY WRIGHT III, LB, Arizona (6-1, 246, Windsor, Ca.): Led the nation in tackles for loss (29) and total tackles (163)… Also had 14 sacks…Named Pat Tillman Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
ANTHONY ZETTEL, DT, Penn State (6-4, 274, West Branch, Michigan): All-Big Ten selection…Led team with 17 tackles for losses and eight quarterback sacks…Had 42 total tackles, three interceptions and five passes defended.
Previous Winners of the Lott IMPACT Trophy:
2004 – David Pollack, Georgia
2005 – DeMeco Ryans, Alabama
2006 – Dante Hughes, Cal
2007 – Glenn Dorsey, LSU
2008 – James Laurinaitis, Ohio State
2009 – Jerry Hughes, TCU
2010 – J.J. Watt, Wisconsin
2011 – Luke Kuechly, Boston College
2012 – Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
2013 – Anthony Barr, UCLA
2014 – Eric Kendricks, UCLA