NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Linebackers A.J. Hawk of Ohio State
and DeMeco Ryans of Alabama and end Darryl Tapp of Virginia Tech
were selected Thursday as finalists for the Lott Trophy, presented
to college football's defensive player of the year.
Candidates for the award, named for former Southern California
defensive back Ronnie Lott, are judged on on-field and off-field
performance. Defensive end David Pollack of Georgia, a first-round
draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, won last year.
Hawk, Ryans and Tapp anchor three of the best defenses in the
nation. Sixth-ranked Ohio State (9-2) is No. 1 against the run,
fourth in total defense, and seventh in scoring defense.
Fifth-ranked Virginia Tech (10-1) is No. 1 in both total defense
and scoring defense. No. 14 Alabama (9-2) is ranked second in those
The winner will be announced Dec. 11 at the sponsoring Pacific
Club in Newport Beach.