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Jordan Kunaszyk on the Lott IMPACT Trophy Watchlist

One of the leaders of the Cal Football defense, Jordan Kunaszyk, has been named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy preseason watchlist.

Cal football inside linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk has been named to the preseason watch list for the Lott IMPACT Trophy for his senior season. The award, named for College Football and Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back Ronnie Lott, “honors college football’s best in character and performance”, and “is unique because it represents the first college football award to give equal weight to personal character as well as athletic performance from a defensive college football player”. The IMPACT acronym stands for “Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community, and Tenacity”.

Kunaszyk was a leader for the Golden Bears’ defense in 2017, especially after an injury shortened defensive standout Devante Downs’ final season at Cal. He led the Bears with 74 tackles, a career-high, and added six tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.

His biggest game came during the Bears’ major upset victory over eighth-ranked Washington State. He piled up 11 tackles and added a career-high 2.5 sacks, as well as a forced fumble and an interception. For his efforts, Kunaszyk earned the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week, as well as a slew of other awards, including Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week and Rose Bowl Game Defensive Player of the Week.

The 6’3”, 235-pound linebacker was part of a 2017 Cal defense that improved massively from the year before. After being one of the absolute worst units in the country in 2016, the Bears were largely average last season, a major step forward under a new coaching staff. Head coach Justin Wilcox and defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter turned them from a laughing stock into a respectable defense.

Now entering his final season at Cal, Kunaszyk will be relied upon again to be a large presence in the middle of the defense. After a 5-7 season that showed a lot of signs of improvement with new people running the team, the team is hoping to make a jump, first to bowl eligibility. The Bears haven’t been to a bowl game since the 2015 season, Jared Goff’s last game with Cal, but seem to have the talent to make it back to a postseason game.

Kunaszyk will be a leader for the team, and should find his name on a couple more watchlists before the season begins. If he can match his second-half production from last season over the course of the entire 2018 season, it will be a good year for him, and for the Bears.

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