Dec. 11, 2006
BERKELEY - California cornerback Daymeion Hughes has earned multiple impressive honors this year, including being named the Pac-10 Player of the Year and a first team All-American by multiple organizations. However, on Sunday evening he earned one of the most prestigious honors in the nation as the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation recognized Hughes as the 2006 winner of the Lott Trophy.
Named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, The Lott Trophy is awarded to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Now in its third year, the honor is the first and only college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player.
"It is a great honor to be recognized for something that meant more than just sports," Hughes said. "There are so many other things that go into the trophy, it is an honor to just be a finalist; but to win was a big surprise, especially with the other finalists.
"I would like to thank my high school coach, my teammates, Coach Tedford, [athletic director] Sandy Barbour and my family," he continued. "And I would also like to thank the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation. It was such a classy event. That has to be one of the best awards banquets in the country."
Hughes, also a two-time first-team all-conference selection, ranks second in the nation with eight interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns. In addition, he has recorded 62 tackles and 11 pass break-ups. For his career, he has 15 interceptions to rank second all-time in Cal history. The Los Angeles native has been very active with the community both in his hometown and his collegiate home in the Bay Area. Some of his activities include assisting with youth football leagues and speaking at high school and Pop Warner banquets.
The other two finalists are defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock of Ohio State and linebacker Paul Posluszny of Penn State.
Hughes' honor was announced at a gala black-tie banquet at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach. The key-note speaker for the event was Pro Football Hall of Famer and long-time Monday Night Football announcer Frank Gifford, while comedian Will Ferrell gave the event plenty of laughs with a brief monologue.
Sponsored by The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, The Lott Trophy is given to a player who exhibits the same characteristics Lott embodied during his distinguished career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.
Pitcock, a 295-pound senior from Piqua, Ohio, has eight sacks for the undefeated and No. 1-ranked Buckeyes. He is on the academic honor roll and volunteers at camps for underprivileged kids.
Posluszny, a senior from Aliquippa, Pa., was the winner of The Butkus and Bednarik Awards last year. He is Penn State's all-time leading tackler with 364 and has been the Big 10 Defensive Player of the Week five times. An Academic All-American last season, he has made the Dean's List five of six semesters and maintains a 3.56 grade point average in finance.
David Pollack of Georgia and DeMeco Ryans of Alabama were the winners of the first two Lott Trophies. Both Georgia and Alabama received $25,000 for their general scholarship funds. In two years, the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation has donated $170,000 to various charities, in addition to the two universities.
Voters for the award include selected members of the national media, previous Lott Trophy finalists, the Board of Directors and Board of Advisors of the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation and Master Coaches, a distinguished group of former head college coaches.
California, which set a school record for average home attendance this year, has posted a 9-3 record thus far this season. It is just the 15th time that the Golden Bears have won nine or more games in program history. The Bears will play Texas A&M in the 29th annual Pacific Life Holiday Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 28 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. (Pacific). This marks the first time in school history that Cal has advanced to bowl games in four consecutive years.
Tickets for the bowl game are currently available by calling 1-800-GO-BEARS or by visiting www.CalBears.com.