Aug. 7, 2009
Oklahoma City - The 2009 Jim Thorpe Award preseason "watch list" announced today includes 31 of the nation's best defensive backs as the leading candidates for this year's trophy, including UCLA senior cornerback Alterraun Verner.
Verner, a pre-season All-American, led the nation in passes defensed in 2008, averaging 1.67 per game. He also ranked second on the Bruin team with 73 tackles and made two interceptions.
The Thorpe Award is one of college football's most sought after and prestigious awards. It is named after history's greatest all-around athlete, a man who excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on offense, but also was an awesome defensive back. Recognized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame simply as "The Legend", Thorpe also played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.
The Jim Thorpe Award "watch list" is determined by analysis of the pre-season All-American teams listed in at least six pre-season college football annual magazines. Four points are awarded for first team, three points for second team, two points for third and one point for honorable mentions. This procedure determines approximately 30-40 players on the pre-season watch list. This list is not final and players who have outstanding seasons are added as the season progresses.
A "Screening Committee" of Jim Thorpe Association members follows these players throughout the season, watching games and researching information sources to grade Thorpe Award candidates on the basis of performance on the field, athletic ability and character. The committee meets on the first Monday in November to narrow the field to 10 or 12 semi-finalists.
The committee meets again on the Monday before Thanksgiving to select the three finalists. The names of these finalists are submitted to a national panel of about 50 sports writers, sportscasters, coaches and former players who vote to determine the winner. The three finalists are invited to the ESPN College Football Awards Show, and the winner is announced during the show.
Formal presentation of the Jim Thorpe Award takes place at ceremonies in Oklahoma City on the first Tuesday in February following the national signing date for college football recruits.
Here is the Watch List:
Javier Arenas - SR - Alabama
Aaron Berry - SR - Pittsburgh
Eric Berry - JR - Tennessee
Ahmad Black - JR - Florida
Morgan Burnett -J R - Georgia Tech
Kendric Burey - JR - North Carolina
Crezdon Butler - SR - Clemson
Kam Chancellor -SR - Virginia Tech
Chris Chandler - SR - Clemson
Barry Church - SR - Toledo
Kurt Coleman - SR - Ohio State
Parrish Cox - SR -Oklahoma State University
Ras-I Dowling - JR - Virginia
Van Eskridge - SR - East Carolina
Dominique Franks - JR - Oklahoma
Joe Haden - JR - Florida
Duke Ihenacho - SR - San Jose State
Reshad Jones - JR - Georgia
Jordan Lake - SR - Baylor
Myron Lewis - SR - Vanderbilt
Trevard Lindley - SR - Kentucky
Taylor Mays - SR -Univ. of Southern California
Amari Spievey - JR - Iowa
Darrell Stuckey - SR -Kansas
Earl Thomas - SO - Texas
Syd'Quan Thompson - SR - California
Walter Thurmond - SR - Oregon
Alterraun Verner - SR - UCLA
Stephen Virgil - SR - Virginia Tech
Deunta Williams - JR - North Carolina
Kyle Wilson - SR - Boise State