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Leonard Williams Named Lott IMPACT Trophy Quarterfinalist

This could actually be the year USC wins the Lott IMPACT Trophy.

Leonard Williams has thrived in the one-technique role on defense.
Leonard Williams has thrived in the one-technique role on defense.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

USC's top defensive prospect, big No. 94 Leonard Williams, has been named one of the 20 quarterfinalists for one of the most prestigious defensive awards in college football, boasted in the honor of legendary Trojan Ronnie Lott.

Leonard Williams is currently second on the team in tackles, amassing 45 total in the first seven games, recording 5 tackles for loss, a team-high 4.5 sacks, and one picture-perfect interception against Fresno State. Williams made his presence most felt against Arizona, earning Lott IMPACT Player of the Week honors for a nine-tackle performance.

While Williams continues to float around the top three-or-four defensive players taken in many 2015 NFL Mock Draft, but the dominant defensive end has really risen to the occasion over the past few weeks of the season.

The Pac-12 had seven players on the list, the SEC and ACC both had four, the Big Ten and Big 12 two each plus one from Notre Dame. This list will continue to dwindle as eight semi-finalists will be chosen on Nov. 11. Then, the four finalists will fly to Newport Beach for a black-tie gala at the Pacific Club on Dec. 14 where the winner will be announced.

UCLA DE Anthony Barr took home the final trophy last season, but senior defensive end Devon Kennard was honored as one of the nation's top finalist. Kennard is making his presence felt on the New York Giants defense, and plenty of players on this year's list will have strong futures at the next level --featuring plenty of Pac-12 talent.

FULL IMPACT TROPHY LIST

Leonard Williams, DT, USC

Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson

Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State

Henry Coley, LB, Virginia

Landon Collins, S, Alabama

Ronald Darby, CB, Florida State

Michael Doctor, LB, Oregon State

Bud Dupree, DE, Kentucky

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon

Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska

David Helton, LB, Duke

A.J. Johnson, LB, Tennessee

Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA

Hau'oli Kikaha, DE, Washington

Ryan Mueller, DE, Kansas State

Jordan Richards, S, Stanford

Deterrian Shackelford, LB, Ole Miss

Danny Shelton, DT, Washington

Eric Striker, LB, Oklahoma

Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame