Here is the official release:
TUSCALOOSA â€“ Alabama junior linebacker Rolando McClain in one of eight semifinalists for the 2009 Lott Impact Trophy, the Pacific Club Impact Foundation announced Wednesday.
The award, which is named for NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, is presented to college footballâ€™s defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. The award is presented to the player who best exhibits the same characteristics Lott embodied during his distinguished career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity. The winning school will receive $25,000 for their general scholarship fund. Former Alabama linebacker and current Houston Texans standout DeMeco Ryans won the award in 2006.
McClain joins safety Eric Berry (Tennessee), safety Taylor Mays (USC), defensive tackle Ndaumkong Suh (Nebraska), defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma), defensive end Sam Acho (Texas), defensive end Jerry Hughes (TCU) and defensive end Eric Norwood (South Carolina) as this yearâ€™s semifinalists.
â€œI congratulate Rolando for being a semifinalist for the Lott Trophy,â€ Alabama head coach Nick Saban said following Wednesdayâ€™s practice. â€œI think itâ€™s great that our players are getting national recognition. I think part of that is the success of the team and how theyâ€™ve contributed to the success of the team. He has done a fantastic job for us all year.â€
The Decatur, Ala., native anchors an Alabama defense that leads the SEC and ranks second nationally in rushing defense (68.2 ypg) this season. The Tide ranks second in the SEC in total defense (242.2 ypg), scoring defense (12.7 ppg) and pass efficiency defense (90.43 rating). Alabama also ranks in the top six nationally in those defensive categories.
In nine games this season, McClain leads Alabama with 66 tackles, including 34 solo stops. He has added eight quarterback pressures, seven tackles for loss (-28), two sacks (-19), two interceptions (-21 yards), one pass break up and one fumble recovery.
McClain is a two-time National Defensive Player of the Week winner this season, after stellar performances against Kentucky (Oct. 3) and No. 22 South Carolina (Oct. 24). He was also named SEC Defensive Player of the Week following the Kentucky game.
Against UK, he had a season-high 12 tackles and was responsible for three of the Crimson Tideâ€™s four takeaways in the 38-20 road win. In the 20-6 win over South Carolina, McClain had seven tackles, two quarterback pressures and one tackle for loss (-2) and played a key role in keeping the Gamecocks offense out of the end zone. He was recognized as the Lott IMPACT Defensive Player of the Week after the win over South Carolina.
The four finalists will be announced Nov. 24 and they winner will be announced Dec. 13 at the Lott Trophy Banquet in Newport Beach, Calif.