NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – Maryland's Joe Vellano was named to the 2012 Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list. The award honors the top collegiate defensive player in the country.
The list of 42 players, including seven from the Atlantic Coast Conference, was announced at a luncheon Monday held by Ronnie Lott, the NFL Hall of Fame safety, and the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation.
Vellano, a senior in the fall, was a second team All-American and a consensus first team All-ACC choice last season. He led the led the Football Bowl Subdivision in tackles by a lineman (7.8 per game).
The native of Rexford, N.Y., also ranked in the top 10 in the league in both fumble recoveries (two/0.17 pg) and fumbles forced (two/0.17 pg). Vellano is a two-time team captain.
Boston College's Luke Kuechly captured the 2011 Lott IMPACT Trophy.
The 2012 preseason watch list includes seven players from last season, headlined by 2011 finalist Manti Te'o of Notre Dame. There are 18 linebackers, 13 defensive backs and 11 defensive linemen on the list.
Voting for the Lott IMPACT Trophy will take place throughout the season with the winner announced Dec. 9 at the annual awards banquet in Newport Beach, Calif.