The Jim Thorpe Award 2016 watch list announced today includes 39 of the nation’s best defensive backs, representing ten conferences and includes the 2015 winner, Desmond King.

The Jim Thorpe Award is one of the most coveted awards in college football. The award was established in 1986 and is named after history’s greatest all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe.  Thorpe excelled not only as a running back, passer, and kicker on the offensive side of the ball; but also stood out as a defensive back.  In addition to his legendary performance on the football field, Thorpe played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.

The Jim Thorpe Award watch list is chosen by a screening committee who compiles a list of 30-50 players.  The list is not final, and players who have outstanding seasons are added as the season progresses.  The Thorpe Award Winner is selected from three finalists and will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, December 8, 2016 on ESPN. 

The Jim Thorpe Award Banquet will be held on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 in Oklahoma.

RELATED: 2016 College football awards preseason watch lists

The Jim Thorpe Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 22 awards boast over 722 years of tradition-selection excellence.

2016 Jim Thorpe Award Preseason Watch List
Jamal Adams LSU Jr.
Tony Annese Central Michigan Sr.
Chidobe Awuzie Colorado Sr.
Budda Baker Washington Jr.
Bobby Baker Georgia State Sr.
Quin Blanding Virginia Jr.
Cody Brown Arkansas State Sr.
Sean Chandler Temple Jr.
Jeremy Cutrer Middle Tennessee Sr.
Zach Edwards Cincinnati Sr.
Nate Gerry Nebraska Sr.
Adoree' Jackson USC Jr.
Eddie Jackson Alabama Sr.
Derwin James Florida St. So.
Sidney Jones Washington Jr.
Damontae Kazee San Diego State Sr.
Desmond King Iowa Sr.
Roland Ladipo Air Force Sr.
Jourdan Lewis Michigan Sr.
William Likely Maryland Sr.
Shawun Lurry Northern Illinois Jr.
Marcus Maye Florida Sr.
Demetrius Monday Kent State Jr.
Deatrick Nichols USF Jr.
Jeremy Reaves South Alabama Jr.
DeJuan Rogers Toledo Sr.
Boise Ross Buffalo Sr.
Weston Steelhammer Air Force Sr.
Jordan Sterns Oklahoma State Sr.
Jamar Summers UConn Jr.
Cameron Sutton Tennessee Sr.
Cordrea Tankersley Clemson Sr.
Ahmad Thomas Oklahoma Sr.
Jaleel Wadood UCLA Jr.
Tre'Davious White LSU Sr.
Jordan Whitehead Pittsburgh So.
Marcus Williams Utah Jr.
Andrew Wingard Wyoming So.
Xavier Woods Louisiana Tech Sr.

By Conference: AAC (4), ACC (4), BIG TEN (4), BIG 12 (2), C-USA (2), MAC (5), MW (4), PAC 12 (6), SEC (5), Sun Belt (3)

The Jim Thorpe Award is presented to the Best Defensive Back in College Football by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.