Antoine Winfield came out of Garfield High School in Akron, Ohio and attended Ohio State University on an athletic scholarship. He became one of the nation’s top defensive backs while at Ohio State. Winfield was a statistical and motivational leader for the Ohio State defense during his senior season. He accounted for 75 tackles and 15 pass break-ups, and was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American. He was also a two-time All-Big Ten selection, and finished his college career with 278 tackles, including 224 solo, 22 tackles for loss, 29 pass breakups and three interceptions. He won the 1998 Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back, and his coach, John Cooper, said he was one of the best defensive backs he has ever coached.
The Buffalo Bills selected Winfield with the 23rd overall pick in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft, and he played for the Bills from 1999 to 2003. He signed a five-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings in 2003. Winfield’s professional career took off in Minnesota. He earned three straight Pro Bowl appearances in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and was named All-Pro in 2008. He is regarded as one of the most physical corner backs in the league, known for his bone-jarring hits, and Sports Illustrated named him one of the top 31 players in the NFL today. His career totals include 953 tackles, 7 sacks, 24 interceptions and 14 forced fumbles.
1998 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Winner Antoine Winfield, Ohio State University
PAYCOM JIM THORPE AWARD