Pitt defensive end Patrick Jones II was placed on the Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list on Thursday, along with 41 other student-athletes. The trophy, which is named for Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, has been awarded to an outstanding defensive player every year since 2004 and is intended to recognize personal character in addition to athletic achievement.
Jones is one of eight athletes from the ACC who was placed on the watch list. The others include Wake Forest defensive lineman Carlos Basham Jr., Syracuse safety Andre Cisco, Duke defensive end Victor Dimukeje, Clemson defensive end Justin Foster, Miami defensive end Gregory Rousseau, Georgia Tech defensive back Tre Swilling and Florida State defensive lineman Marvin Wilson. The last ACC defender to take home the trophy was Luke Kuechly in 2011. In each of the last two seasons, the award has gone to athletes from the SEC.
Last season, the defensive end had a breakout campaign, as he accrued 43 tackles, including 8.5 sacks and 12 tackles for losses, as a starter in all 13 of Pitt’s matchups. He also forced four fumbles and came up with 18 quarterback hurries. Jones finished the 2019 season leading the Panthers in tackles for losses, quarterback hurries and forced fumbles. His 0.31 forced fumbles per game led the ACC and ranked sixth in the nation.
Notable past winners of the Lott IMPACT Trophy include David Pollack, Glenn Dorsey, James Laurinaitis, J.J. Watt, Manti Te’o, Anthony Barr and Jabrill Peppers. Billed as “honoring college football’s defensive best in character and performance,” the purpose of the award is to recognize integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community, and tenacity, hence the “IMPACT” acronym.