Notre Dame's Smith, Northwestern's Peters Named to Thorpe Award List

The Jim Thorpe Award 2011 watch list announced today includes 37 of the nation’s best defensive backs, representing eight conferences and one independent. Stud senior safety Harrison Smith of Notre Dame made the cut, so did Northwestern senior Brian Peters. And don't forget Wisconsin Badgers corner Antonio Fenelus, more on him here.

The Thorpe Award, one of the most coveted awards in college football, is celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2011. It was established in 1986, and named after history’s greatest all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on the offensive side of the ball, but also stood out as a defensive back. In addition to his legendary performance on the football field, Thorpe played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.

The Jim Thorpe Award watch list is chosen by a screening committee who compile a list of 30-40 players. The list is not final, and players who have outstanding seasons are added as the season progresses. The Thorpe Award Winner is selected from three finalists and will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards on December 8, 2011 on ESPN.

Here's the full list of all 37 candidates

Ray Ray Armstrong, Miami (FL), SS
Mark Barron, Alabama, SS
John Boyett, Oregon, FS
Brandon Boykin, Georgia, CB
Morris Claiborne, LSU, CB
Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska, CB
Tony Dye, UCLA, CB
Matt Elam, Florida, SS
Antonio Fenelus, Wisconsin, CB
Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma, CB
Donnie Fletcher, Boston College, CB
Blake Gideon, Texas, FS
Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina, CB
Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt, CB
Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech, CB
Delano Howell, Stanford, SS
Duke Ihenacho, San Jose State, SS
George Iloka, Boise State, FS
Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma, FS
Leonard Johnson, Iowa State, CB
Coryell Judie, Texas A&M, CB
Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama, CB
Robert Lester, Alabama, FS
Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State, SS
TJ McDonald, USC, FS
Chase Minnifield, Virginia, CB
Marco Nelson, Tulsa, FS
Brian Peters, Northwestern, FS
Greg Reid, Florida State, CB
Xavier Rhodes Florida State, CB
Josh Robinson, UCF, CB
Trenton Robinson, Michigan State, FS
Harrison Smith, Notre Dame, FS
Keith Tandy, West Virginia, CB
Kenny Tate, Maryland, FS
Tramain Thomas, Arkansas, FS
Prentiss Waggner, Tennessee, SS

By Conference: SEC (10); ACC (7); Big 12 (6); Big 10 (4); PAC 12 (4); C-USA (2); WAC (2); Big East (1); Independents (1).
The Jim Thorpe Award is presented to the Best Defensive Back in College Football by the Jim Thorpe Association

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports You can follow him on Twitter

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    Paul M. Banks

    Fulbright scholar in media studies, MBA, small media business owner, Published author, Founder of The Sports Bank.net, a Fox Sports affiliate Member: Society of Professional Journalists, Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association. Former political writer for Washington Times.com, NBC Chicago.com and numerous business journals Credentialed for: United Nations, Rose Bowl, BCS National Championship, Final Four, Stanley Cup Finals, and NBA Playoffs. Been featured on: Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports Live, The History Channel, CBS and ESPN radio. Does weekly segments for NBC and Fox Sports Radio stations across the nation.

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