University of South Carolina junior cornerback Israel Mukuamu is one of 42 candidates on the preseason watch list for the 17th annual Lott IMPACT Trophy, the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation announced today.
Mukuamu, a 6-4, 205-pound junior from Bossier City, La., earned second-team All-SEC honors last season after registering 59 tackles with four interceptions and nine pass breakups. He had the best game of his career in the double-overtime upset win at Georgia when he logged a career-high 11 tackles and intercepted Jake Fromm three times, returning one 53 yards for a score. He became the first Gamecock to record three picks in a game since Patrick Hinton vs. NC State in 1988. For his efforts, he was recognized as the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week, the Chuck Bednarik Award National Player of the Week, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy National Defensive Player of the Week, the College SportsMadness.com SEC and National Defensive Player of the Week, and the SEC Defensive Player of the Week. He was also a member of the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.
The 42 student-athletes who make up the Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List come from 41 different schools. Only defending National Champion LSU has two candidates.
This year's Watch List has 16 linebackers, 15 defensive backs and 11 defensive linemen. The Big Ten and the ACC both have nine candidates while the Pac-12 has eight, the SEC seven, the Big 12 five, the Mountain West two, the AAC one and one independent, Notre Dame.
The Lott IMPACT Trophy, which has raised more than $1.6 million for scholarships and other youth-related charities throughout the country, is the only major college football award where the character of the nominee is considered.