Now is the time when many precursors to the regular college football season are revealed. There are a couple preseason rankings, TV schedules are being arranged, and award 'watch lists' are being rolled out.
Last week, the Heisman Trophy watch list was revealed. Surprisingly, there was not a single Ute on it. Jordan Wynn made the list last year. Why not this year? Why not even a mention for John White? Not even a mention for Star Lotuleilei? That was disappointing to discover.
However, a Ute did land on the latest award watch list.
The Lott Impact Trophy (named after 49ers legend Ronnie Lott) honors the top defensive player in the nation who best exemplifies integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity. When the watch list was released on Monday, Utah Defensive Tackle Star Lotuleilei was on it.
Last season, the 6'4" 325 lb. tackle was named to the 2011 First Team All-Pac 12, won the Morris Trophy (league's best defensive lineman), and recorded 44 tackles. Lotuleilei recorded seven tackles versus UCLA and six tackles versus Washington. Further, many sports pundits have recently speculated that Lotuleilei will be the number one overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Lotuleilei joins many recognizable names on the Lott Award watch list, including: Safety TJ McDonald (USC), Safety John Boyett (Oregon), Defensive End Alex Okafor (Texas), Safety Eric Reed (LSU), Linebacker Jarvis Jones (FSU), Defensive End Demontre Hurst (Oklahoma) and Defensive Tackle Jesse Williams (Alabama).
Most of the other major college football award watch lists will be released in July.