The Jim Thorpe Association of Oklahoma City has released their 42-person watch list, which spans eleven conferences in D-I college football. The award, established in 1986, honors the nation's best defensive back every season.
This year, there are four nominees hailing from the Mid-American Conference. Kent State's Nate Holley, Massachusetts' Randall Jette, Northern Illinois' Paris Logan, and Central Michigan's Tony Annese have all been tabbed by the Jim Thorpe Association for the preseason award list
Nate Holley, a 5'11", 200 lb, safety is in his junior year and exploded onto the scene last year, recording 18 tackles, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery vs. Ohio in a week one matchup. Holley ended up recording 10+ tackles in 8 of his 11 games, ranking third in the nation in tackles per game with 12.5 and sixth in solo tackles with 6.8 per game. Holley was named to the All-MAC First Team for his efforts, finishing with 136 total tackles on the year.
Randall Jette was a revelation at corner last season. The 5'11, 185 lb. redshirt senior recorded 67 tackles and 18 pass breakups (third in the country in the stat) last season, along with four interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Jette's big game came against Colorado, where he recorded seven tackles (5 solo) and an interception against the Buffaloes. For his efforts, Jette was named to the All-MAC Second Team as a defensive back.
Paris Logan got his first full season as a starting corner last season and made the most of it. The 5'9", 189 lb. redshirt senior from Missouri recorded 69 total tackles (45 solo,) three interceptions, and a fumble recovery last season, ranking 13th in the nation in passes defended with 1.4 per game. Logan made the All-MAC First Team as a corner last season for his efforts, and projects to do so again this season.
Tony Annese had big shoes to fill with Avery Cunningham and Jahleel Addae no longer with the Chippewas and did an admirable job in his first full season as a starter. Annese recorded 74 tackles (49 solo,) three interceptions, two fumble recoveries (returned for 27 yards,) and led CMU in passes defended with 10. Annese broke up 1.08 passes per game, good enough for tenth in the conference. Annese's big play ability helped him make the All-MAC Third Team last season.
Gerod Holliman of Louisville won the 2014 Jim Thorpe Award last season. The winner of the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award will be announced December 10th with the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN.