NEWPORT BEACH, CA. Ohio State Linebacker James Laurinaitis has been named one of eight semi-finalists for the fifth annual Lott Trophy, it was announced today.

Laurinaitis (6-3, 244, Sr., Hamel, Mn.) was a Lott finalist last year. He has won the Butkus and Nagurski awards in previous seasons. A two-time Buckeye captain, Laurinaitis has 101 tackles to lead the team again this season.

Named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, The Lott Trophy is awarded to college football’s Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Now in its fifth year, The Lott Trophy is the first and only college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player.

Sponsored by The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, the Lott award is given to a player who exhibits the same characteristics Lott embodied during his distinguished career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

David Pollack of Georgia, DeMeco Ryans of Alabama, Dante Hughes of Cal and Glenn Dorsey of LSU were the winners of the first four Lott Trophies. Georgia, Alabama, Cal and LSU each received $25,000 for their general scholarship funds. In four years, the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation has donated $450,000 to various charities, in addition to the universities.

Voters for the award include selected members of the national media, previous finalists, the Board of Directors of the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation and Legends Coaches, a distinguished group of former head college coaches.

Four finalists will be announced Nov. 26 with all four attending the annual gala black-tie banquet in Newport Beach Dec. 14 where the winner will be announced. The winning player’s university will receive $25,000 for its general scholarship fund and each of the three other finalists will receive $5,000 for their school’s general scholarship fund. (Note: the banquet is sold out)

This year’s keynote speaker will be long-time college football announcer Keith Jackson.

The 2008 Lott Trophy Semi-finalists:
Eric Berry, So., S, Tennessee
Aaron Curry, Sr., LB, Wake Forest
James Laurinaitis, Sr., LB, Ohio State
Scott McKillop, Sr., LB, Pitt
Brit Miller, Sr., LB, Illinois
Brian Orakpo, Sr., DE, Texas
Nick Reed, Sr., DE, Oregon
Myron Rolle, Jr., S, Florida State