OKLAHOMA CITY – Florida State sophomore safety Derwin James collected his third preseason national award honor on Monday when the Jim Thorpe Award announced its 2016 watch list.
The Thorpe Award is given annually to the nation’s top defensive back. James has also been named to the 2016 preseason watch lists for the Nagurski Trophy and the Bednarik Award – both honors given to the nation’s top defensive player.
James proved to be one of the best defensive freshman in the country in 2015 as he finished with 91 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, five pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. James earned All-ACC Third Team honors as well as Freshman All-America honors from the Sporting News and USA Today. The Haines City, Fla., native led the team in tackles five times, including a season-high 14 stops against Houston in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
James’ tackle output (91) marked the third highest total by a freshman in Florida State history behind only Marvin Jones and Ron Simmons. He grabbed ACC Defensive Back of the Week honors after the NC State game where he tallied 10 tackles, one TFL, a sack and a fumble recovery. The 6-3, 213-pound playmaker was recognized as one of FSU’s Top Newcomers at the end-of-they-year banquet and also shared the Hinesman Team MVP, given to the most outstanding player during spring football practice, in 2016 along with senior defensive end DeMarcus Walker.
James is one of 39 student-athletes on the 2016 Jim Thorpe Award watch list.
The Jim Thorpe Award is one of the most coveted awards in college football. The award was established in 1986 and is named after history’s greatest all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled not only 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 compiles a list of 30-50 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 Thursday, December 8, 2016 on ESPN.
The Jim Thorpe Award Banquet will be held on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 in Oklahoma.