Nov. 9, 2004
ATLANTA–For the second straight year, Georgia Tech free safety James Butler has been named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top collegiate defensive back.
Butler and the Yellow Jackets (5-3, 4-3 ACC) host Connecticut Saturday at 1 p.m. at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field.
Butler, a senior from Climax, Ga., is Tech’s second-leading tackler with 57 hits along with two interceptions, 2.5 tackles for loss, three pass breakups, a forced fumble and a blocked field goal.
He is team captain and the only senior on a Georgia Tech defense that ranks 21st nationally in total defense, 27th in rushing defense, 27th in passing yards allowed and 30th in scoring defense.
Butler, who has seven career interceptions, is rated among the top senior prospects for next year’s NFL draft.
In 2003, Butler was a first-team all-ACC selection as he ranked second in the league in interceptions with five while setting a Tech record for tackles by a defensive back with 119. He has seven career interceptions and ranks among Tech’s career leaders in tackles by a defensive back.
Majoring in Building Construction, Butler was also an Academic All-ACC selection in 2003.
This list of 12 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award will be narrowed on Nov. 22 to three finalists. The winner will be announced on ESPN’s College Football Awards Show, telecast live from Disney World in Orlando, Florida, on December 9.
Oklahoma City’s Jim Thorpe Association first presented the award in 1986 to Thomas Everett of Baylor. Everett will be the presenter on this year’s ESPN show. The official presentation of the award will be at a banquet in Oklahoma City on February 8, 2005. Winners are selected on the basis of performance on the field, athletic ability and character. Last year’s winner was Oklahoma University standout Derrick Strait.
The 2004 semi-finalists are:Jason Allen, Jr TennesseeJames Butler, Sr Georgia Tech Thomas Davis, Jr GeorgiaJim Leonhard, Sr WisconsinMitch Meeuwsen, Sr Oregon StJustin Miller, Jr ClemsonBrandon Payne, Sr New MexicoCarlos Rogers, Sr AuburnAntrel Rolle, Sr MiamiErnest Shazor, Sr MichiganCorey Webster, Sr LSUJimmy Williams, Jr Virginia Tech