Kansas State senior defensive end Ryan Mueller was one of 42 players nationally to be named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list on Wednesday.
Now in its 11th year, the Lott Trophy goes to the college football defensive player who has the biggest IMPACT (an acronym for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity) on his team both on and off the field.
Mueller is the third Wildcat in the last three years to be named a candidate for the award, following defensive back Ty Zimmerman (2013) and Arthur Brown, who was finalist for the award in 2012.
One of seven Big 12 players on the 2014 watch list, Mueller is coming off a dominating junior season in which he tied the school record for sacks (11.5) on his way to All-America honors. A First-Team All-Big 12 performer, Mueller was named Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year by the league’s coaches, was a two-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week (Iowa State, Texas Tech) and a candidate for the Burlsworth Trophy and Ted Hendricks Award.
A former walk-on prior to the 2010 season, Mueller recorded at least a half tackle per game in 12 contests last year as he totaled 18.5 to rank ninth in school history. The Leawood product enters his senior campaign with 14 career sacks, just one shy of entering the school’s top-10 list.
The Lott Trophy was named in honor of Ronnie Lott, a two-time All-American for Southern California and College Football Hall of Fame inductee. Lott went on to win four Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers, earn 10 trips to the Pro Bowl and a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Always known as a fierce competitor, he was a leader who had impact both on and off the field.
The award is unique because it represents the first trophy to give equal weight to personal character as well as athletic performance from a defensive college player and is the first national college football award based on the West Coast.