The Jim Thorpe Award is the latest college football award to reveal its 2014 preseason watch list. Three Big 12 players are named in the initial list of 39 candidates being considered for the annual award, which honors the best defensive back in college football.
Carter, a senior from New Orleans, plays the safety position at TCU and led the Horned Frogs last season with five interceptions. The two-time All-Big 12 selection also had four sacks and seven and a half tackles for a loss in 2013. Carter also has been named to the preseason watch list for the coming season for the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
This is the second consecutive year that Diggs has been named to the Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list. Diggs has started three seasons for the Longhorns at cornerback, during which time he has produced 168 tackles, 32 pass breakups and eight interceptions.
The Longhorns have had two previous winners of the Thorpe Award, which was first presented in 1986. Safety Michael Huff won the award in 2005, and Aaron Ross made it two in a row for Texas cornerbacks, winning the award in 2006. The Longhorns also have had two Thorpe Award finalists in Earl Thomas (2009) and Quentin Jammer (2001).
Sanchez will be a red shirt sophomore in 2014. In his red shirt freshman season in 2013, the Texas-native made 48 tackles (33 unassisted), had 13 pass breakups and snared two interceptions. He was named a Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America. Sanchez also made the 2014 preseason watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Award.
Besides the two past winners from Texas, three other former Big 12 players have won the Thorpe Award in the Big 12 era. Roy Williams of Oklahoma was the winner in 2001, Terence Newman of Kansas State won in 2001 and Derrick Strait of Oklahoma won it in 2004. Between 2001 and 2006, a Big 12 defensive back was the Thorpe winner fin five of the six years.
The initial watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award is not final. More names can be added based on performance during the 2014 season.
The award is named after the late Jim Thorpe, who was one of history’s greatest all-around players in college football. He played running back, quarterback and kicker on offense and also was an outstanding defensive back.
The Thorpe Award is the ninth of 15 national individual awards, whose preseason candidate lists are being revealed over a two-week period. On Monday, the 2-014 preseason watch lists will be disclosed for the Butkus Award, recognizing the best linebacker in college football, and the Rotary Lombardi Award, which honors the best lineman or linebacker.