Notre Dame 5th year senior Mike Anello was named to the Lott Award Watch List on Wednesday. Here’s an excerpt from the official release from Notre Dame.
The Watch List is made up of 42 of the nation’s top defensive players who have had the biggest IMPACT on their teams on and off the field. IMPACT stands for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.
Anello, a 5-10, 170-pound cornerback, has been a standout special teams player for the Irish and graduated with a finance degree in three and a half years. The former walk-on player from Orland Park, Ill. was rewarded with a scholarship prior to the start of the 2008 season. Anello has totaled 29 tackles, including 19 solo stops, with two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery as a member of the punt and kickoff coverage units.
Anello is currently recovering from a broken leg which he suffered against USC, but should be ready to wreck havoc on opposing kick and punt return teams for the start of the season. Anello became a fan favorite last year for his outstanding play on both return unitsand will be counted on heavily to provide a similar impact this season.
While some have labeled Anello another “Rudy”, the characteristic is not at all accurate. Anello’s presence on the coverage units causes opponents to take notice and alter their blocking schemes. Notre Dame’s special teams units were much improved last year and Anello was a major component making him very worthy of this recognition.