Oklahoma City—The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame announced on November 21 the three finalists for the 2016 Jim Thorpe Award, given to the top defensive back in college football. The Thorpe Award is named after history’s greatest athlete, Jim Thorpe, and is presented by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. Thorpe excelled at every sport in which he competed, including football where he played on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
Jim Thorpe Award Finalists:
Adoree’ Jackson, USC, Jr. a 3-year starting cornerback and a 3-way performer, is among the nation’s most exciting players. On defense in 2016, he leads USC in interceptions with 4 and pass breakups with 9, and has made 49 tackles with a pair of fumble recoveries. He often is matched against the opponent’s top receiver; for instance, he limited Alabama’s Calvin Ridley to 2 catches for 9 yards, Colorado’s Shay Fields to 4 for 32 yards and Stanford’s Michael Rector to a 3-yard reception. In USC’s road upset at No. 4 Washington, he picked off Jake Browning twice. A dangerous returner, he currently is fifth nationally in punt returns (14.8 average) and 10th in kickoff returns (28.3) and has a TD return in each category. And on offense this season, although not being used as often as previous years, he averages 9.2 yards on 4 rushes. He also is a finalist for the 2016 Hornung Award (for the second consecutive year) and a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy. In his career, Jackson has 5 interceptions and has scored 12 touchdowns in 4 different ways (1 interception, 5 receptions, 3 kickoff returns and 3 punt returns). He is USC’s career kickoff return yardage record holder and is eighth on the school’s punt return chart.
Jourdan Lewis, Michigan, Sr. The Detroit native has only been targeted 31 times in 2016, allowing just eight receptions for 78 yards. He touches the football more frequently than the opposing receiver, evidenced by his two interceptions and nine pass breakups (11 total) while surrendering just eight catches. Lewis has collected at least one pass breakup in six of his eight games played this season. Lewis tallied three PBUs against Indiana and Maryland, the last two home games of his career. In the battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy, Lewis tallied an interception, one tackle for loss and four solo tackles at Michigan State. He made his biggest play against No. 8 Wisconsin, corralling an electrifying one-handed interception in the waning second that secured the victory.
Tre’Davious White, LSU, Sr. White, a native of Shreveport, Louisiana, has been a lockdown corner for the Tigers for much of his LSU career, but in his senior season has been even better as he has a pair of interceptions and 28 total tackles. He is currently second in the SEC in passes defended at 1.20 per game, tying for the conference lead with 10 pass breakups in 10 games. At one point in the season, White had an opponent passer rating of 25.4 into his coverage and through 10 games has only allowed 12 completions on 30 attempts to his side of the field. He’s had at least one pass breakup in six games, including having four against Florida which was a season high. White also has a knack for finding the end zone, as he returned an interception 21 yards for a touchdown against Wisconsin, while returning a punt 60 yards against Jacksonville State the very next week to become the first non-offensive player in LSU history to have touchdowns in the first two games of the season.