May 7, 2012

Simon named to Lott Trophy watch list

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Urban Meyer has already pegged senior defensive lineman John Simon as a captain and one of the team's most dynamic player.

Now the rest of the country is catching on. Simon was named to the watch list for the 2012 Lott IMPACT Trophy. The award recognizes athletic performance and character off the field.

Simon, a third-team All-American in 2011, was a semifinalist for the Lott Trophy last season. He finished the year with 53 tackles and 16 tackles for loss, including seven sacks. Simon's tackles behind the line of scrimmage added up to minus-59 yards. He was a bright spot in an otherwise forgettable season for the 6-7 Buckeyes. Simon earned first-team All-Big Ten honors and was selected as the Bill Willis Award winner - Ohio State's defensive player of the year.

"Each year we are proud to present a list of college football players who exemplify the things we believe in," Ronnie Lott, the award's namesake, said. "This group is no exception. These young men are terrific players and great role models, both on and off the field."

Lott is regarded as one of the greatest defensive backs in the history of the NFL. He played collegiately at USC, where he earned All-America honors before being selected in the first round of the 1981 draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He won four Super Bowls during his 10 seasons in San Francisco. He also played for the Los Angeles Rams, New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs during a 15-year career.

Lott was a 10-time Pro Bowl selection and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in 2000, his first year of eligibility. He was known for his tenacity and hard hits. Lott famously had part of his left pinky finger cut off during a game so he could continue playing.

Eight other Big Ten players dot the list: Baker Steinkuhler ( Nebraska), Jonathan Brown (Illinois), Mike Taylor (Wisconsin), Chris Borland (Wisconsin), Jordan Kovacs (Michigan), Max Bullough (Michigan State), Kawaan Short (Purdue), Gerald Hodges (Penn State).

Simon enters his senior season with 28-career tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks.


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