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NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.  - University of Colorado senior safety Ray Polk is among 42 accomplished student-athletes in the country who have been nominated for the ninth annual Lott IMPACT Trophy, announced here Monday.

The award is presented to an individual who, as college football's defensive player of the year, demonstrates excellence in the field of athletics and who best exemplifies Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

"Each year we are proud to present a list of college football players who exemplify the things we believe in," said Ronnie Lott.  "This group is no exception.  These young men are terrific players and great role models, both on and off the field."

Polk, a 6-1, 205-pound free safety from Scottsdale, Ariz., has logged over 70 hours of community service at Upward Foundation that helps mentally challenged kids.  He had 80 tackles last fall, including a team-best 59 unassisted stops.

The 2012 Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List includes seven players from last season, headed by 2011 finalist Manti Te'o of Notre Dame.  Semi-finalists John Simon of Ohio State and Brodrick Brown of Oklahoma State are also on the list as are quarter-finalists T.J. McDonald of USC, John Boyett of Oregon and Jordan Kovacs of Michigan.  Brandon Jenkins of Florida State rounds out the returning nominees. 

The Big Ten leads the way with nine nominees, followed by the Pac-12 with eight, the ACC and Big-12 with seven each and the SEC with five. 

There are 18 linebackers, 13 defensive backs and 11 defensive linemen on the list. 

Voting for the Lott IMPACT Trophy will take place throughout the season with the winner announced at the annual black-tie awards banquet Dec. 9 at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach.

The preseason candidates:

David Amerson, North Carolina State, CB
Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State, CB
Chris Borland, Wisconsin, LB
John Boyett, Oregon, S
Arthur Brown, Kansas State, LB
Brodrick Brown, Oklahoma State, CB
Jonathan Brown, Illinois, LB
Max Bullough, Michigan State, LB
Tra'ves Bush, Navy, S
Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech, CB
Steve Greer, Virginia, LB
Gerald Hodges, Penn State, LB
DeMontre Hurst, Oklahoma, DB
Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas, DE
Brandon Jenkins, Florida State, DE
Jarvis Jones, Georgia, LB
A.J. Klein, Iowa State, LB
Jake Knott, Iowa State, LB
Jordan Kovacs, Michigan, S
Patrick Larimore, UCLA, LB
Star Lotulelei, Utah, DT
Brandon Magee, Arizona State, LB
T.J. McDonald, USC, S
Sam Montgomery, LSU, DE
Brandon Ogletree, BYU, LB
Alex Okafor, Texas, DE
J.C. Percy, Boise State, LB
Ray Polk, Colorado, S
Jordan Poyer, Oregon State, CB
Kevin Reddick, North Carolina, LB
Eric Reid, LSU, S
Luke Ruff, Wyoming, S
Kawaan Short, Purdue, DT
John Simon, Ohio State, DT
Baker Steinkuhler, Nebraska, DT
Mike Taylor, Wisconsin, LB
Manti Te'o, Notre Dame, LB
Chase Thomas, Stanford, LB
Joe Vellano, Maryland, DT
Zach Watts, Army, LB
Bjoern Werner, Florida State, DE 
Jesse Williams, Alabama, DT