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FSU defensive stars rightly left off preseason Lott Trophy watch list

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Because #CharacterCounts.

Lott IMPACT trophy
lottimpacttrophy.org

Fresh off honoring Jabrill Peppers (who missed the Orange Bowl), the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation has named forty-two student-athletes to the 2017 Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List, per a May 12 release. The award is presented annually and honors college football’s best in character and defensive performance as voted on by members of the national media, previous finalists, and the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation board of directors.

Conspicuously absent from a watch list of forty-two college football players generated months before anything resembling a down of football: Florida State’s starting boundary corner Tarvarus McFadden and all-everything safety Derwin James.

How? The former five-star recruits have certainly not failed in terms of performance.

The 6’3, 211-pound Derwin James managed 8 tackles and an interception in 2016 before suffering a season-ending meniscus tear in week 2. This, after recording 91 tackles (second at FSU), 9.5 TFLs (also second), and 4.5 sacks (again, second) during a Freshman All-American campaign and second-best overall safety performance (PFF) in 2015. Despite the injury in 2016, the redshirt sophomore has been named a preseason 2017 All-American by nearly every publication, as well as an NFL first-rounder in numerous early mock drafts.

Tarvarus McFadden (6’2, 198), who missed spring practice after recovering from shoulder surgery, finished 2015 with 8 interceptions (tied for first, nationally). The rising junior finished the 2016 season as a Bronko Nagurski award finalist, first-team All-American (FWAA/Phil Steele/Campus Insiders), second-team All-American (Walter Camp/AFCA), fourth-team All-American (Athlon), All-ACC first teamer (Coaches & Media), and winner of the Jack Tatum Award as the nation’s top defensive back (Touchdown Club of Columbus).

So how do two highly-decorated defenders not make it onto a list comprised of forty-two players?

Because #CharacterCounts.

Like Twitter, characters count.

After all, how can we be a just and verdant society — much less fans of college football awards — yet honor players who steal regularly?

NCAA Football: Florida State at South Florida
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Caught in the act.
Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Unofficial complaints have been made against the two by the likes of Mr. Irrelevant Chad Kelly, Heisman-winner Lamar Jackson, and National Champion and NFL first-rounder Deshaun Watson for taking team equipment that clearly did not belong to them.

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Stealing from his own teammates now?
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Additionally, how can we profess to be a nation of laws yet ignore this battery?

...or hit-and-run?

We may ignore their character shortcomings, these facts. But now, more than ever, the fourth estate cannot: of the forty-two, these two must not be.


Special thanks to @anthony_raia for his insight contributing to this article.