The watch list for the 29th annual Jim Thorpe Award, released Friday, includes three Big 12 student-athletes. The award has been given to the top defensive back in college football since its creation in 1986.
The Big 12’s representatives on this year’s watch list are Zack Sanchez (Oklahoma), Sam Carter (TCU) and Quandre Diggs (Texas). Carter, a senior, is the conference’s leader in career interceptions among returning players with nine, including five in 2013. Diggs, also entering his senior season, is right behind with eight career picks, while also tallying 32 career pass breakups, both of which lead the Texas roster. Sanchez is coming off a breakout freshman campaign, in which he started all 13 games at cornerback for the Sooners while amassing 13 pass breakups, 46 tackles and two interceptions. The Big 12 has had five Jim Thorpe Award winners since 1996, with the most recent being Texas cornerback Aaron Ross in 2006.
The award watch lists members, semi-finalists and finalists are determined by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame Screening Committee. The winner is then voted on by a national panel of sports writers, sportscasters, former players and coaches.
The three finalists for the 2014 Jim Thorpe award will be announced Nov. 24. All three finalists will then be invited to The Home Depot College Football Awards show, where the winner will be announced on Dec. 11 on ESPN.