The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame announced the 15 names on the semifinalist list for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the top defensive back in college football.
The Southeastern United States proved to be powerful, with the ACC and SEC having eight of the 15 spots sealed. The Big 12 and PAC-12 were next with two apiece, while the Big Ten, Conference USA, and the American Athletic Conference had one each.
Finalists included Gerod Holliman of Louisville and Senquez Golson of Ole Miss. They are also the nations leaders in interceptions with eight and both have returned one of those picks for a touchdown. None of the five players with two pick-sixes are listed as finalists for the award.
Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard won the 2013 Jim Thorpe Award, but an SEC player had won the award the previous four seasons. Dennard went on to be chosen 24th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Other winners of the award include Eric Berry (2009; Tennessee), Patrick Peterson (2010; LSU), Morris Claiborne (2011; LSU) and Johnthan Banks (2012; Mississippi State). Since 2004, every Jim Thorpe award winner has been drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft, with the exception of Banks in 2012.
A complete list of the finalists is below.
Thorpe Award Semifinalists:
Sam Carter, TCU, Sr.
Jeremy Cash, Duke, Jr.
Landon Collins, Alabama, Jr.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon, Sr.
Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech, So.
Senquez Goldon, Ole Miss, Sr.
Josh Hawkins, East Carolina, Jr.
Gerod Holliman, Louisville, Jr.
Ronald Martin, LSU, Sr.
Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss, Sr.
Jordan Richards, Stanford, Sr.
Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma, So.
Triston Wade, USTA, Sr.
Trae Waynes, Michigan State, Jr.
PJ Williams, Florida State, Jr.
*Section Photo credit to Ronald Martinez, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Scott Olmos, USA Today Sports.