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The Jim Thorpe Award, named after Jim Thorpe, has been awarded annually to the top defensive back in college football since 1986. The Oklahoma Sports Hall Of Fame selects the winner by a vote amongst select members. Baylor DB Thomas Everett became the first recipient of the trophy, and Cincinnati DB Coby Bryant became the most recent recipient after an impressive season with the Bearcats.

Dec 31, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats cornerback Coby Bryant (8) in action in the second quarter against the the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2021 Cotton Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at AT&T Stadium.

Dec 31, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats cornerback Coby Bryant (8) in action in the second quarter against the the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2021 Cotton Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at AT&T Stadium.


Outside Looking In

  • Jordan Battle, Alabama
  • Cole Bishop, Utah
  • CJ Brown, Northern Illinois
  • Jalen Catalon, Arkansas
  • Dorian Jackson, Western Michigan
  • Quindell Johnson, Memphis
  • Antavious Lane, Georgia State
  • Riley Moss, Iowa
  • Andrew Mukuba, Clemson
  • Gabriel Taylor, Rice
Clemson safety Andrew Mukuba (1) intercepts ball near Georgia Tech wide receiver Nate McCollum (8) during the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia Monday, September 5, 2022.

Clemson safety Andrew Mukuba (1) intercepts ball near Georgia Tech wide receiver Nate McCollum (8) during the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia Monday, September 5, 2022.

Top 3

Sep 25, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Bowling Green Falcons safety Jordan Anderson (0) celebrates after making a game ending interception during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Gophers at Huntington Bank Stadium.

Sep 25, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Bowling Green Falcons safety Jordan Anderson (0) celebrates after making a game ending interception during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Gophers at Huntington Bank Stadium.

#3 Jordan Anderson

Senior, Bowling Green

Week 4 Stats: 4 Tackles, 1 Pass Deflection

Season Stats: 20 Tackles, 3 Pass Deflections, 1 Interception

Anderson keeps his #3 spot after an impressive game against Mississippi State. The Mike Leach air raid is a dangerous offensive scheme that has torn up the SEC since Mike Leach's hiring. In a loss, Anderson managed to hold his own and limit the damage the air raid could do when he was in coverage. Mississippi State is the toughest team Anderson will play this year, and his performance Saturday gave me confidence he can hang in there this year.

Houston's defensive back Gervarrius Owens (2), far right, intercepts the ball against Houston, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, at Jones AT&T Stadium.

Houston's defensive back Gervarrius Owens (2), far right, intercepts the ball against Houston, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, at Jones AT&T Stadium.

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#2 Gervarrius Owens, Senior, Houston

Week 4 Stats: 1 Tackle

2022 Stats: 23 Tackles, 3 Pass Deflections, 1 Interception

Owens is coming off his worst performance of the season against Rice. Last week, I viewed Owens as a step ahead of Anderson, and now I feel they could switch places. I won't be doing so today. While Owens had one tackle, he still disrupted plays and kept his receivers locked down most of the game. Owens will need to have a bounce-back performance against Tulane to stay at #2.

Sep 1, 2022; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions cornerback Joey Porter Jr. (9) and Penn State Nittany Lions safety Ji'Ayir Brown (16) celebrate in the second half against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium.

Sep 1, 2022; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions cornerback Joey Porter Jr. (9) and Penn State Nittany Lions safety Ji'Ayir Brown (16) celebrate in the second half against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium.

#1 Ji' Ayir Brown, Senior, Penn State

Week 4 Stats: 4 Tackles

2022 Stats: 19 Tackles, 2 Pass Deflections, 1 Sack, 1 Interception, 1 Forced Fumble

Brown, in my opinion, is a level ahead of the top three. Brown has dominated the competition this year. The Penn State defense has allowed 16.5 points per game to start the season, and Brown is part of why they are so good. Brown is a lockdown player this season and should be considered the early favorite for this award.

Gabe Taylor became the 11th contender as a late addition last week, and he continues to impress as he moved closer to the top three this week. Malaki Starks was removed from the contender's list this week. The first-year Georgia star was replaced by Taylor, as I view him as a future finalist who does not have the stats to win this year.

The top three stayed the same after week four. Anderson made a case to be moved to #2 this week and should make this top-three race intriguing.