VanValkenburg Named Lott Trophy Quarterfinalist

IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa senior defensive end Zach VanValkenburg has been named one of 20 quarterfinalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy. The announcement was made by the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, which is responsible for honoring the nation’s best IMPACT player at the end of the season.

VanValkenburg, a native of Zeeland, Michigan, is in his third season with the Hawkeyes after joining the program as a graduate transfer. He is also a semifinalist for the 2021 William V. Campbell Trophy, which is annually awarded by the National Football Foundation to the nation’s top scholar-athlete.

VanValkenburg (6-foot-4, 267-pounds) has started all seven games at defensive end as the Hawkeyes have posted a 6-1 record. He has totaled 11 solo tackles and 13 assists, with six tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and five QB pressures. Iowa’s defense ranks among the national leaders in several statistical categories.

VanValkenburg earned his undergraduate degree at Hillsdale College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history. At Iowa, he has earned his master’s degree in Eastern European Studies/Interdisciplinary Studies.

VanValkenburg earned second-team All-Big Ten honors while starting every game in 2020. He tied for first in the nation with four fumble recoveries and recorded 8.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors in Iowa’s win at Minnesota.

Now in its 18th year, the Lott IMPACT Trophy goes to the student-athlete who best exhibits the characteristics of Ronnie Lott by making an IMPACT on and off the field. IMPACT is an acronym for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

Semifinalists will be announced in late November, with four finalists being announced in December. The finalists will be invited to attend the annual Lott Trophy Awards Show Dec. 12 in Newport Beach, California. The winner of the award receives $25,000 for his university’s general scholarship fund.

Former Hawkeye linebacker and current Denver Bronco Josey Jewell won the Lott IMPACT Trophy in 2017, while linebacker James Morris was a finalist in 2013. Recent Hawkeyes who have been semifinalists for the award include defensive end Chauncey Golston (2020) and defensive back Desmond King (2016).

Iowa is idle this weekend. The Hawkeyes return to action Oct. 30 at Wisconsin (11 a.m., ESPN).