The preseason accolades continue to roll in for WKU Football senior defensive back Cam Thomas, who was one of 39 defensive backs named to the 2014 Jim Thorpe Award watch list on Friday morning. The Jim Thorpe Award is presented to the best defense back in college football by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
Thomas’ selection to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list comes on the heels of a breakout junior season in which he led the Sun Belt Conference and ranked Top 20 nationally in both total passes defended (15) and interceptions. Thomas, a First-Team All-SBC selection in 2013, was a staple in WKU’s 14th ranked defense and aided the Hilltoppers in holding opponents to 177 yards passing per game, a mark that ranked 10th in the country.
The Jim Thorpe Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football.
The preseason recognition is Thomas’ fourth honor leading up to the 2014 season, as he was also named to the 2014 College Football Performance Awards Defensive Back Trophy Watch List on June 30th as well as a Preseason First-Team All-Conference USA selection by both Phil Steele and Athlon Sports.
Thomas is one of five defensive backs representing Conference USA on the 39-man watch list, joining Florida Atlantic’s D’Joun Smith, Middle Tennessee’s Kevin Byard, Rice’s Bryce Callahan and UTSA’s Triston Wade. Conference USA’s five defensive backs on the Jim Thorpe Award watch list ties the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 10 Conference and Mountain West Conference as leagues with the most representation.
With Thomas being named to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list, WKU has now had a representative on the preseason watch list in two-straight seasons. Former Hilltopper Jonathan Dowling, a two-time all-conference performer in WKU’s secondary in 2012-13, was placed on the 2013 Jim Thorpe Award Watch List.
The Jim Thorpe Award watch list is chosen by a screening committee who compile 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 11, 2014 on ESPN.
The Jim Thorpe Award Banquet will be held on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 in Oklahoma City, OK.