The Daily's preseason watch list: Jim Thorpe Award
The Daily's Jim Thorpe Award watch list
Tony Jefferson (S, Oklahoma)
David Amerson (CB, North Carolina State)
Tyrann Mathieu (CB, LSU)
2012 watch lists
The Daily's picks for which players will appear on the following college football preseason watch lists:
• Maxwell Award
• Bednarik Award
• Mackey Award
• Rimington Trophy
• Lou Groza Award
• Ray Guy Award
• Bronko Nagurski Trophy
• Outland Trophy
• Jim Thorpe Award
• Butkus Award
• Rotary Lombardi Award
• Biletnikoff Award
• Davey O'Brien Award
• Doak Walker Award
• Walter Camp Award
Starting July 9, the National College Football Awards Association will start releasing preseason watch lists for its various awards, releasing one or two a day for 10 days.
We here at The Daily are going to release our own watch lists over the next six days, then compare our picks to the association's.
Today, we are revealing our picks for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the nation's best defensive back.
JIM THORPE AWARD
Tobi Neidy, senior fooball writer: Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma
After Oklahoma safety Tony Jefferson earned 2010 Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year honors, the Chula Vista, Calif., native returned for an explosive second season that included a team-leading four interceptions and 74 total tackles last year. In one of the most anticipated games of 2011, Jefferson showed up on the national stage and collected a career-high three tackles for loss and finished with a team-high eight tackles against Florida State. Now a veteran with this Sooner defense, Jefferson is poised to become an anchor for the OU backfield, and if he continues on his dominant defensive pace, the national spotlight will continue to shine in his direction.
Dillon Phillips, assistant sports editor: David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State
A bit of a dark horse last season, NC State cornerback David Amerson led the nation with a whopping 13 interceptions — giving him the NC State and ACC single-season interception records. Amerson’s interception total was one shy of the NCAA single-season record set by Washington’s Al Worley in 1968, and Amerson picked off five more passes than the next highest performer last year. Standing at a menacing 6-foot-3, Amerson has elite size for a corner, which gives him a rare advantage in jump-ball situations and should translate well to the next level.
Kedric Kitchens, sports editor: Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
The Tyrann Mathieu hype train is going full speed, and I am all aboard "The Honey Badger" Express. Mathieu was a standout last year, even next to running partner Morris Claiborne — who won last year's Jim Thorpe award — and will only have more opportunities to shine with Claiborne's departure to the NFL. Mathieu racked up 71 tackles last year while getting two interceptions and forcing five fumbles — returning two for touchdowns. The Honey Badger makes big, flashy plays that will garner him much attention come award time.