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Deone Walker Kicks Off College Football Watch List SZN

Nick Roushby:Nick Roush06/12/24

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We are 80 days away from the start of the 2024 Kentucky football season. That may seem like a long time away. You know that it will be here in no time.

There are multiple rites of passage over the summer to prepare us for the college football season. We have images of players reporting for summer workouts, SEC Media Days, some sort of off-field controversy, local media days, and coach-speak galore from preseason camp. In-between them all is one of Drew Franklin’s favorite pastimes, the Watch List.

College football lacks uniformity in so many different ways and its awards are no exception to that rule. Rather than one entity sharing a dozen awards across the entire sport, awards for specific position players are doled out by various booster and quarterback clubs across the country. The Louisville Sports Commission has its own, The Paul Hornung Award, given annually to the most versatile player in college football.

It’s easy for one award or another to get lost in the wash. To stand out and drum up a little preseason publicity, lengthy Watch Lists are shared for numerous awards. The first Watch Lists are hitting newsstands now and Kentucky’s big man is standing front and center.

Deone Walker is on the Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List. Named after 49ers Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, the award is given annually to the defensive player who had the biggest impact on his team both on and off the field. IMPACT stands for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity, traits that served as Lott’s mantra during his playing days.

Walker, a 6-foot-6, 348-pound athlete from Detroit, was one of the most disruptive interior defensive linemen in college football last fall. He earned All-SEC honors after leading the Wildcats in tackles for loss (12.5), quarterback sacks (7.5) and quarterback hurries (8). He also broke up two passes at the line of scrimmage, one of which turned into an interception against Florida that was returned inside the red zone.

Walker is one of 42 players on the Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List and one of only 13 defensive linemen. Given annually since 2004, Josh Allen is the only other Lott Award winner from the University of Kentucky.

This is the first of many Watch List appearances for Deone Walker this offseason. Prepare accordingly.

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2024-07-20