Derrick Strait excelled on the football field while attending Lanier High School in Austin, Texas. While in high school Strait was selected to the Texas Top 100 by the Houston Chronicle and a Max Emfinger National Top 500 selection. During his senior season he rushed for 1,439 yards and 17 touchdowns, and also threw three touchdowns. He had 118 tackles, 52 solo, one sack, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, 11 pass deflections and two interceptions on defense. He was an All-District standout as well as being selected to the All-CenTex team.
Strait received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Oklahoma, where he was a four year starter at cornerback. Strait proved to be one of the best defenders in the nation winning the 2003 Jim Thorpe Award and the 2003 Bronko Nagurski Award for best defensive player in college football. He set school records at OU for consecutive starts (52), interception return yards (397) and pass breakups (52). In 2000, Strait was selected as the Big 12 Conference Defensive Newcomer of the Year by the Associated Press. In 2002, Strait was a Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist, and consensus All-Big 12 first team. As a senior Derrick was an All-American, and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.
Derrick Strait was selected with the 13th pick in the 3rd round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the New York Jets, where he spent two seasons as a backup defensive back. He bounced around the league for two years before being releases by the Carolina Panthers in 2007. He then spent one year in the Arena Football League and one year in the Canadian Football League before retiring from professional football. Strait was named to the All Decade college football team by Sports Illustrated in 2009.
PAYCOM JIM THORPE AWARD
2003 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Winner Derrick Strait, University of Oklahoma