Know Your DB History: Ronnie Lott

Ronnie Lott

By: Chad Wilson – All Eyes DB Camp
IG: @AllEyesDBCamp

There have been many great safeties to play this game but no list of the top safeties makes sense or is complete without Ronnie Lott’s name on it.  To say that Lott made an impact when he played the game would be a tremendous understatement.

Known as one of the most vicious hitters in the game during his playing days,  Lott’s playing career began at Eisenhower High School in Rialto, California.  Lott was a standout running back, wide receiver, quarterback and safety during his time at the school.  The school’s current stadium is named in his honor.

Upon entering USC to begin his college football career,  Lott and NFL Hall of Famer Marcus Allen were both being considered for the illustrious tailback and safety spot on the team.  Head coach John Robinson decided to move Lott to defense when he realized that Lott was the better tackler. The move turned into Hall of Fame inductions for both players.

At USC,  Lott would have an All American career intercepting 14 passes including 8 in his final season as a Trojan.  His 1978 USC team would earn a share of the National Title.  Lott is both a member of the Trojan’s Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.

In 1981,  the San Francisco 49ers made Lott their first round draft pick (8th overall).  Playing cornerback for the 49ers,  Lott made an immediate impact nabbing 7 interceptions as a rookie and scoring on three of them.  That 1981 49ers team would go on to win the first of four Super Bowls during Lott’s time with team.

Lott spent his first five seasons playing cornerback grabbing 23 interceptions for the 49ers.  In 1986 he made a full time move to free safety and led the NFL in interceptions that season with 10.  It was at free safety that his legend as a big hitter really took shape.  The NFL film archives are loaded with film of big hits delivered by Lott as the leader of tremendous San Francisco defense. If you weren’t alive to see it,  I urge you to go find some clips on YouTube.  Lott was one of the league’s toughest players and once opted to have the tip of his pinky finger amputated rather than have surgery on it and miss time.

Ronnie Lott would play 14 total seasons in the NFL (10 with 49ers, 2 with the Raiders and 2 with the NY Jets).  He is ranked 8th on the NFL’s all time leading interception list with 63.  He scored 5 times, forced 16 fumbles and had over 1100 tackles.  In 2000,  Lott was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.

Author: Chad Wilson

Chad Wilson is the owner of All Eyes DB Camp and author of "101 DB Tips". He played college football at the University of Miami and briefly in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks. Over his 15 year high school football coaching career, he tutored over a dozen Division I defensive backs and as a trainer has worked with NFL All Pros, first round draft picks, college football All Americans and Top 10 ranked high school football prospects.

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