Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list revealed

This year’s Jim Thorpe award preseason watch list was released earlier today. The award, given to the top defensive back in college football every year at the College Football Awards in December, is presented by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.

This year’s favorites include Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey, Ole Miss’s Tony Conner, Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller and Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III.

The Mountain West conference leads all conferences with six nominations, while the ACC and Pac-12 both come in with five. The list also features five schools with two players nominated. One of them, UCLA, isn’t very surprising. The other four (Louisiana Tech, Boise State, Houston, and San Diego State) aren’t as predictable.

The 42-player list includes a total of five underclassmen (three true sophomores and two redshirt sophomores), most notably USC’s 3-way threat Adoreé Jackson.

But that’s the nice thing about these pre-season award watch lists. They recognize players from smaller programs who wouldn’t normally get much publicity. FIU, UMass, Air Force and Tulane, for example, all had a player in the 42-man field.

The list also isn’t set in stone. As recently as last year, for example, Louisville’s Gerod Holliman took home the award despite not making the preseason watch list.

The full list can be seen below.

Ishmael Adams, UCLA

Mackensie Alexander, Clemson

Tony Annese, Central Michigan

Budda Baker, Washington

Adairius Barnes, Louisiana Tech

Dante Barnett, Kansas State

Vonn Bell, Ohio State

Quin Blanding, Virginia

Kevin Byard, Middle Tennessee

Michael Caputo, Wisconsin

Jeremy Cash, Duke

Tony Conner, Ole Miss

Donte Deayon, Boise State

Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech

Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida

Nate Holley, Kent State

Adoree’ Jackson, USC

William Jackson, Houston

Randall Jette, UMass

Jonathan Jones, Auburn

Karl Joseph, West Virginia

Damontae Kazee, SDSU

Montres Kitchens, Troy

Mitch Lane, ULM

Richard Leonard, FIU

William Likely, Maryland

Paris Logan, Northern Illinois

Trent Matthews, Colorado State

Adrian McDonald, Houston

Doug Middleton, Appalachian State

David Mims II, Texas State

Fabian Moreau, UCLA

Parry Nickerson, Tulane

Kevin Peterson, Oklahoma State

Jalen Ramsey, Florida State

Max Redfield, Notre Dame

Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma

Jordan Simone, Arizona State

Weston Steelhammer, Air Force

Darian Thompson, Boise State

JJ Whittaker, SDSU

Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech

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