NEWPORT BEACH, Calif Colorado senior outside linebacker Derek McCartney is one of 42 student-athletes to be named to the 2017 Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List, the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation has announced.
Named after Pro Football Hall of Fame member, Ronnie Lott, The Lott IMPACT Trophy is awarded to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Founded in 2004 by The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, The Lott Trophy is the first and only college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player. The Lott Trophy is given to the player who exhibits the same characteristics Lott embodied during his distinguished career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.
McCartney is one of 17 linebackers on the watch list. The Pac-12 Conference had the most players on the list with 10 and McCartney's is joined by fellow league members: Koron Crump, LB, Arizona State; Porter Gustin, DE, USC; Chase Hansen, S, Utah; Hercules Mata'afa, DE, Washington State; Harrison Phillips, DL, Stanford; Cameron Saffle, DE, Cal; Cameron Smith, LB, USC; Azeem Victor, LB, Washigton; Kenny Young, LB, UCLA.
On the field, McCartney ranks in the top 40 all-time at Colorado in career sacks with 9½ in 27 games played and 25 starts. He was selected as a team captain for the Buffs in 2017. He is coming off a junior season that was cut short due to a knee injury. Before his injury in week three at No. 4 Michigan, he returned a fumble 18 yards for a touchdown to give CU a 14-0 lead over the Wolverines at the time.
Off the field, McCartney has received national recognition for his academic success and contributions to his community.
McCartney was named to the 2016 AFCA Good Works Team, one of just 12 Division I players honored last season, which recognizes and celebrates those who dedicate their time to bettering the community and the lives of others. McCartney is the only one of the 12 from last season's Good Works Team who made the Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List.
In the spring of 2016 he participated in CU's "Be A Match" program that coach Mike MacIntyre started after his first year in Boulder. McCartney was a match and went through the grueling process of donating, missing the bulk of CU's spring practices in the process. Eight months later, he was informed that his blood stem cells he donated went to a male in his 50s or 60s and that he helped save that man's life.
He graduated in May 2016 after just three years with a degree in one of CU's most challenging majors – Integrative Physiology – with a Pre-Med course of study at Colorado. He is now enrolled in CU's graduate program for IPHY with plans to go to medical school after the conclusion of his football career.