Denzel Burke Named Semifinalist for Jim Thorpe Award, Kyle McCord Among Candidates for Davey O’Brien Award

By Dan Hope on October 31, 2023 at 2:39 pm
Denzel Burke and Kyle McCord

Two Buckeyes were named candidates for national awards on Tuesday.

Ohio State cornerback Denzel Burke was named as one of 15 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, which honors college football’s best defensive back. Quarterback Kyle McCord is one of 35 players on the Davey O’Brien Award’s “Class of 2023,” making him an official candidate to win the award given to college football’s top quarterback.

Burke makes the list of Thorpe semifinalists after a dominant first two months of the season in which he has recorded nine pass breakups – the most in the Big Ten – and one interception while allowing just 18 catches for 214 yards on 36 targets, per Pro Football Focus. Burke strives to become the third Buckeye cornerback to win the Jim Thorpe Award, previously won by Antoine Winfield in 1998 and Malcolm Jenkins in 2008.

McCord makes the list of Davey O’Brien candidates after starting all eight of Ohio State’s games so far this season at quarterback and completing 148 of his 231 passing attempts (64.1%) for 2,163 yards and 14 touchdowns with three interceptions. The first-year starter currently ranks 10th in the nation in passing yards per attempt (9.4) and 20th in quarterback rating (160.1), but he’ll need to elevate his play over the next couple of weeks to remain in contention for the O’Brien Award. The current 35-player list of candidates will be pared down to 16 semifinalists on Nov. 14.

Troy Smith (2006) is Ohio State’s only previous winner of the Davey O’Brien Award.

Three finalists for both awards will be named on Nov. 28 while the winners of both awards will be announced during ESPN’s College Football Awards on Dec. 8.

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