Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah was named Monday as one of 14 semifinalists for this year's Jim Thorpe Award, which honors college football's best defensive back.
In his first year as a full-time starter, Okudah has established himself as one of the nation's most dominant cornerbacks, consistently locking down opponents in pass coverage while also showing himself to be a physical tackler in run support.
Okudah leads the Buckeyes with three interceptions this season and has also recorded three additional pass breakups, 17 total tackles and a forced fumble. With his efforts locking down one side of the field leading the way in the secondary, Ohio State's passing defense has allowed just 136.3 passing yards per game and 4.9 passing yards per attempt this season, both second-best in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Now, Okudah has a chance to become Ohio State's third winner of the Jim Thorpe Award. Malcolm Jenkins won the award in 2008, while Antoine Winfield received the honor in 1998.
This year's winner of the Jim Thorpe Award will be announced on Dec. 12 at the Home Depot College Football Awards. Three finalists will be announced before then.
Among this year's semifinalists, Okudah is the only defensive back from a Big Ten school. The full list of semifinalists:
|LUQ BARCOO||SAN DIEGO STATE|
|ESSANG BASSEY||WAKE FOREST|
|DOUGLAS COLEMAN III||TEXAS TECH|
|ALOHI GILMAN||NOTRE DAME|
|AJ GREEN||OKLAHOMA STATE|
|JEFF OKUDAH||OHIO STATE|
|AMIK ROBERTSON||LOUISIANA TECH|