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.
List of Winners
|2013||Darqueze Dennard||Michigan State||SR|
|2012||Johnthan Banks||Mississippi State||SR|
|2008||Malcolm Jenkins||Ohio State||SR|
|2002||Terence Newman||Kansas State||SR|
|1998||Antoine Winfield||Ohio State||SR|
|1995||Greg Myers||Colorado State||SR|
|1991||Terrell Buckley||Florida State||JR|
|1988||Deion Sanders||Florida State||SR|
|1987||Bennie Blades, Rickey Dixon||Miami (FL), Oklahoma||SR/SR|