Jim Thorpe Award


The Jim Thorpe Award is presented each year to the best defensive back in college football.

Conceived by former Oklahoma City talk show host Ed Sossen and former Jim Thorpe Association (now Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame) Executive Director, W. Lynne Draper, the award was created in 1986 as a way to positively promote Oklahoma nationally. It is awarded based on performance on the field, athletic ability and character.

The award is named for Jim Thorpe who was born in Oklahoma on May 22, 1887, in what was known then as the Indian Territory. Thorpe was a member of the Sac and Fox Nation and attended both Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, and the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. At Carlisle, he became a standout athlete in track and field, football, baseball and lacrosse and was named an All-American in football in 1911 and 1912. He also led the Indians to a national championship during that 1912 season.

Thorpe went on to play both professional baseball and football as one of the NFL’s early stars eventually earning induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of its charter class in 1963. He is considered one of the greatest all-around athletes of all-time.


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List of Winners

YearWinnerSchoolCL
2016Adoree' JacksonUSCJR
2015Desmond KingIowaJR
2014Gerod HollimanLouisvilleJR
2013Darqueze DennardMichigan StateSR
2012Johnthan BanksMississippi StateSR
2011Morris ClaiborneLSUJR
2010Patrick PetersonLSUJR
2009Eric BerryTennesseeJR
2008Malcolm JenkinsOhio StateSR
2007Antoine CasonArizonaSR
2006Aaron RossTexasSR
2005Michael HuffTexasSR
2004Carlos RogersAuburnSR
2003Derrick StraitOklahomaSR
2002Terence NewmanKansas StateSR
2001Roy WilliamsOklahomaJR
2000Jamar FletcherWisconsinJR
1999Tyrone CarterMinnesotaSR
1998Antoine WinfieldOhio StateSR
1997Charles WoodsonMichiganJR
1996Lawrence WrightFloridaSR
1995Greg MyersColorado StateSR
1994Chris HudsonColoradoSR
1993Antonio LanghamAlabamaJR
1992Deon FiguresColoradoSR
1991Terrell BuckleyFlorida StateJR
1990Darryll LewisArizonaSR
1989Mark CarrierUSCJR
1988Deion SandersFlorida StateSR
1987Bennie Blades, Rickey DixonMiami (FL), OklahomaSR/SR
1986Thomas EverettBaylorSR