Ohio State’s Denzel Burke, Caleb Downs and JT Tuimoloau Among 42 Candidates for 2024 Lott IMPACT Trophy

By Dan Hope on May 30, 2024 at 9:01 pm
Denzel Burke

Ohio State’s defense got some early recognition on the first watch list of the year.

Ohio State is the only school with three players on the watch list for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which honors the defensive player who makes the biggest impact for the team both on and off the field based on the acronym IMPACT (Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity).

Senior cornerback Denzel Burke, sophomore safety Caleb Downs and senior defensive end JT Tuimoloau are all among the 42 nominees for the award, which is named after Pro Football Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott.

Burke and Downs enter 2024 as two of college football’s elite defensive backs after both earned second-team All-American honors – Burke for Ohio State, Downs at Alabama – in 2023. They are two of 18 defensive backs on the watch list.

Tuimoloau is a two-time first-team All-Big Ten honoree who will look to establish himself as an All-American defensive end in his final season as a Buckeye. He is one of 13 defensive linemen on the watch list.

Ohio State’s standing as the only team with three players on the watch list is representative of the expectations surrounding the Buckeyes’ defense, which is expected to be the best in the country in 2024. Defensive end Jack Sawyer, defensive tackle Tyleik Williams, cornerbacks Davison Igbinosun and Jordan Hancock and safety Lathan Ransom are among the other veteran stars returning to lead the Buckeyes’ defense this year.

Seven other schools have two players on the Lott IMPACT watch list: Alabama (LB Deontae Lawson and S Malachi Moore), Arizona (CB Tacario Davis and LB Jacob Manu), Georgia (S Malaki Starks and LB Jalon Walker), Michigan (DT Mason Graham and CB Will Johnson), Notre Dame (DT Howard Cross III and CB Benjamin Morrison), Penn State (DE Abdul Carter and DE Dani Dennis-Sutton) and Texas (CB Jahdae Barron and S Andrew Mukuba).

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