As the 2021 college football season approaches, the expectation of some of the best players in the country is starting to gain more recognition. The playoff awards watchlist is slowly unfolding. Virginia Tech Hokies nickelback / safety Chamarri Conner is on the Lott Trophy Watchlist.
The defensive player who demonstrates excellence both on and off the pitch receives the Lott Trophy. The Lott Trophy defines IMPACT as integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity. Conner is one of 41 players on the watch list. Former Lott Trophy winners include former Wisconsin defensive end JJ Watt in 2010, former Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly in 2011, former Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen in 2018, former Auburn defensive tackle Tigers Derrick Brown in 2019. The current recipient is former Northwest linebacker Paddy Fisher.
Conner has been very involved in the community at Virginia Tech and in the locker room. This season, Conner gave away the No.1 jersey. The number is assigned to the player who gives the Hokies one of the strongest and most enveloping presences. Head coach Justin Fuente is the one who gave Conner the jersey number.
Over the past two seasons, Conner had been one of the most consistent and dominant defensive players on the pitch for the Hokies. Conner had 149 total tackles, 105 solo tackles, 13.5 loss tackles, 5.5 sacks, three interceptions, 12 pass deflections and two forced fumbles. He led the team in total tackles (81) and solo tackles (60) last season.
Conner is one of the more seasoned Hokies who has seen tenacity and changes with defense over the past three seasons. He will lead a defensive unit ranked 82nd in the country in points against per game (32.1) and 93rd in total yards against per game (425.4) last season. The Hokies had one of the worst defenses in recent history. Conner and the rest of the defensive teammates will expect a more significant improvement under the guidance of second-year defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton.
Hokie Nation expects Conner to be one of the most successful defensive leaders on and off the pitch this 2021 college football season. He has shown why he deserves to be one of the 41 players mentioned for the Lott Award over the past two seasons. If Conner continues the same results on the field in 2021 for the Hokies, then he will continue to be an easy consideration for the prize throughout the season.