UK’s Walker named to Lott watch list


University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky sophomore defensive lineman Deone Walker is one of 42 candidates on the watch list for the 2023 Lott IMPACT Trophy.

Named after former NFL Hall of Fame star Ronnie Lott, the Lott Trophy annually goes to the Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year, a player who has had the biggest impact on his team both on and off the field.

The Lott Trophy is the only major college football award that considers character. IMPACT stands for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity, which are all characteristics exhibited by Lott during his illustrious playing career.

Walker, a 6-foot-6, 330-pounder from Detroit, played in all 13 games with 11 starting assignments in his rookie season in 2022. Because of his size and physicality, he was an absolute force on the defensive line, finishing with 40 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss (third on the team), five quarterback hurries (second on the team), two pass breakups, one sack and one forced fumble.

He earned freshman All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America, The Athletic, College Football News,, and Pro Football Focus.  Additionally, he was named to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman Team, was named second team All-SEC by the Associated Press, Pro Football Focus and Phil Steele’s College Football and was a semifinalist for the Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award.

The 42-man Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List is comprised of 16 linebackers, 13 defensive backs and 13 defensive linemen. There are nine players from SEC schools, the most of any conference, followed by the Big Ten and Pac 12 with eight players each. There are six players from both the Big 12 and ACC, with an additional five from non-Power 5 conference schools.

The annual winner is selected by a national voter panel, consisting of former winners, members of the media, coaches and members of the Board of Directors of the IMPACT Foundation.

The winner is announced at a gala black-tie event at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach, California, Dec. 10, 2023.