Tennessee safety Eric Berry didn’t win the sixth annual Lott Trophy, but don’t think he made a wasted trip to Newport Beach, Calif., for the award’s banquet Sunday night.
UT coach Lane Kiffin said having Berry at another banquet – this one on the West Coast – only helps in recruiting.
“Sure it does (help),” Kiffin said after Sunday’s practice. “I pushed Eric to go. There’s a lot of requests for him to go different places, but knowing some of the people involved with that award, I pushed him to go and it’s good that he went.”
Jerry Hughes of TCU was the recipient of the Lott Trophy, named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott. The Lott Trophy is awarded to college football’s defensive player of the year who is equally recognized for his athletic performance and personal character attributes.
The four finalists for the Lott Trophy were Berry, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska and linebacker Rolando McClain of Alabama.
Thursday, Berry received the Jim Thorpe Award honoring the nation’s top defensive back. He won the Thorpe Award over Florida’s Joe Haden and Texas’ Earl Thomas.
“He’s a class act, a great representation of our program,” Kiffin said of Berry.
Suh received the Bronko Nagurski Award last week recognizing the best defensive player in college football. Other finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Award were Berry, Hughes, and Iowa linebacker Pat Angerer.