Aug. 8, 2009
OKLAHOMA CITY – Georgia Tech junior safety Morgan Burnett has been named to the Watch List for the 2009 Jim Thorpe Award, which goes annually to the best defensive back in college football.
Burnett, a second team All-American and second team All-ACC selection in 2008, is one of 31 players on the preseason list.
No Yellow Jacket has ever won the Jim Thorpe Award. Ken Swilling, in 1990, is the only Tech player to be a finalist. James Butler, in 2003 and 2004, and Willie Clay in 1991, were semifinalists.
Burnett tied for first nationally in interceptions last season with seven, giving him 10 interceptions in his two-year career. His seven INTs in 2008 were the most by a Yellow Jacket player since 1991 and tied for the fourth-most in Tech single-season history.
The Thorpe Award is one of college football’s most sought after and prestigious awards. It is named after history’s greatest all-around athlete, a man who excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on offense, but also was an awesome defensive back. Recognized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame simply as “The Legend”, Thorpe also played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.
The Jim Thorpe Award “watch list” is determined by analysis of the pre-season All-American teams listed in at least six pre-season college football annual magazines. Four points are awarded for first team, three points for second team, two points for third and one point for honorable mentions. This procedure determines approximately 30-40 players on the pre-season watch list. This list is not final and players who have outstanding seasons are added as the season progresses.
Jim Thorpe Award Preseason Candidates
Javier Arenas - SR - AlabamaAaron Berry - SR - PittsburghEric Berry - JR - TennesseeAhmad Black - JR - FloridaMorgan Burnett -J R - Georgia TechKendric Burey - JR - North CarolinaCrezdon Butler - SR - ClemsonKam Chancellor -SR - Virginia TechChris Chandler - SR - ClemsonBarry Church - SR - ToledoKurt Coleman - SR - Ohio StateParrish Cox - SR -Oklahoma State UniversityRas-I Dowling - JR - VirginiaVan Eskridge - SR - East CarolinaDominique Franks - JR - OklahomaJoe Haden - JR - FloridaDuke Ihenacho - SR - San Jose StateReshad Jones - JR - GeorgiaJordan Lake - SR - BaylorMyron Lewis - SR - VanderbiltTrevard Lindley - SR - KentuckyTaylor Mays - SR -Univ. of Southern CaliforniaAmari Spievey - JR - IowaDarrell Stuckey - SR -KansasEarl Thomas - SO - TexasSyd'Quan Thompson - SR - CaliforniaWalter Thurmond - SR - OregonAlterraun Verner - SR - UCLAStephen Virgil - SR - Virginia TechDeunta Williams - JR - North CarolinaKyle Wilson - SR - Boise State