T.J. McDonald named IMPACT quarterfinalist

T.J. McDonald has been named a quarterfinalist for the 2012 Lott IMPACT Trophy for the second year in a row, the IMPACT Foundation announced Tuesday.

The senior safety is among 20 quarterfinalists from across the nation and is the only candidate from USC.

The award recognizes the defensive player who best exemplifies integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity (IMPACT).

The award is also named after former USC safety and NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott.

On the gridiron, McDonald leads the Trojans this season with 53 tackles, 27 of them unassisted. He has one interception, with a total of six for his USC career. He currently stands in 3rd place in the Pac-12 in assisted tackles.

Off the field, McDonald is enrolled at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. He was also one of 16 Trojans, including  senior quarterback Matt Barkley and junior wide receiver Robert Woods, who took a service trip to Haiti last spring to build homes for the impoverished.

McDonald chose to return to school last December rather than leave early for the NFL and is serving as a team captain for the second consecutive season. He was a first team All-Pac-12 selection as a junior.

The semi finalists for the IMPACT award will be announced Nov. 13, followed by four finalists who will be announced Nov. 28. Those four players will then be invited to a ceremony in Newport Beach, on Dec. 9, where the winner will be announced at the Lott IMPACT Trophy Awards Ceremony.