Tom Smart, Deseret News
BYU football linebacker Kyle Van Noy, Monday, March 18, 2013, in Provo.

Kyle Van Noy’s return for a senior season at BYU isn’t going unnoticed.

The Cougars’ standout linebacker was named to the 2013 Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List, which consists of 42 college football players around the country.

The award encompasses both on-field production and off-field qualities. IMPACT serves as an acronym for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

The nature of the award marks a complete turnaround for Van Noy, whose collegiate career began roughly. Brushes with driving under the influence, BYU’s Honor Code and team rules could have easily derailed the highly recruited prospect out of Reno, Nev.

Instead, Van Noy persevered, repeatedly earning compliments from head coach Bronco Mendenhall on his maturity and growth as a person. Meanwhile, Van Noy’s on-the-field athleticism and playmaking on the defensive side of the ball made him a fan favorite. NFL draft experts had him pegged as a sure-fire professional prospect after the 2012 season, in which he recorded 13 seconds (tied for second in the nation), forced six fumbles and 22 tackles for loss.

Van Noy, however, chose to return for his senior year, as did wide receiver Cody Hoffman, after the Cougars finished 8-5.

“I plan to finish what I started and feel like I’ve still got some unfinished business,” Van Noy said when he made the decision in late December. “I’m looking forward to being on the field this next season with my Cougar teammates.”

Van Noy is one of 20 linebackers on the Lott list. The award will be announced on Dec. 8 in Newport Beach.

Matt Petersen is the sports Web editor for You can follow him on Twitter at @TheMattPetersen.