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Thorpe Award Announces 10 Semi-finalists
Photo - Tejay Johnson - TCU
The Jim Thorpe Award Screening Committee has announced the names of 10 semi-finalists for the award given annually to the nation’s best college defensive back. The 2010 award marks the 25th presentation of the trophy, first won in 1986 by Baylor’s Thomas Everett. Last year’s winner was the Tennessee’s Eric Berry who became a #1 draft selection for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Jim Thorpe Award Screening Committee has announced TCU safety Tejay Johnson as one of 10 semifinalists for the award presented annually to the nation's top defensive back. Johnson is the third Horned Frog to be a semifinalist for a national award this season. Quarterback Andy Dalton and center Jake Kirkpatrick are semifinalists for the Davey O'Brien and Rotary Lombardi Award, respectively.
Johnson has been a three year starter and singled out by head coach Gary Patterson for his on-field leadership. TCU has led the nation in defense all three of those seasons. Johnson ranks third on the Horned Frogs with 46 tackles. He is tied for the team lead with three FF and two interceptions, including a 19-yard return for a touchdown at SMU. He added three pass breakups in the SMU game.
Johnson is an anchor of a TCU defense that ranks first in scoring defense at 8.7 points per game, the lowest mark in the NCAA since 1988. The Horned Frogs are also tops in the nation in pass defense, fewest first downs allowed and opponent third-down percentage. TCU has allowed just two touchdowns and 16 points in its last five games. TCU's defense has forced a three-and-out on 50-of-104 (48.1 percent) possessions. Opponents average just 54.1 snaps per game.
Named to four preseason All-America teams, Johnson appeared on watch lists for the Jim Thorpe Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Lott Trophy. He was also a candidate for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team and Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Johnson is a rehabilitation of the deaf/hard of hearing major.
The 2010 semi-finalists are:
Prince Amukamara - Sr. - Nebraska
Mark Barron - Jr. - Alabama
Chimdi Chekwa - Sr. - Ohio State
Brandon Harris - Jr. - Miami (FL)
Cliff Harris - Soph. - Oregon
Tejay Johnson - Sr. - TCU
Joe Lefeged - Sr. - Rutgers
Rahim Moore - Jr. - UCLA
Patrick Peterson - Jr. - LSU
Tyler Sash - Jr. - Iowa
About the Jim Thorpe Award:
The Jim 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 candidates for the award are selected by a “screening committee” of Jim Thorpe Association members who follow several 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 then narrows the field to three finalists and 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 announcement of the Jim Thorpe Award winner will be featured on The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards live on Thursday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. The show, hosted by ESPN’s Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit will feature the live presentation of nine player awards, along with the recipients of Disney’s Spirit Award; The Home Depot Coach of the Year Award, the NCFAA (National College Football Awards Association) Contributions to College Football Award; and student-athletes selected to the Walter Camp All-America Team.
The Jim Thorpe Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association’s official web site, www.NCFAA.org.
Frank Coyle writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He is also a member of the FWAA and voter in College team and player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Thorpe, etc. He is a voter for weekly Team and Player Awards