OKLAHOMA CITY -- The 2011 Jim Thorpe Award watch list includes 37 of the nation’s best defensive backs, representing nine conferences and one independent.

The Jim Thorpe Award watch list is chosen by a screening committee which compiles a list of 30 to 40 players to follow. 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 College Football Awards Show on Dec. 8.

The Thorpe Award is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2011. The award, established in 1986, is named after one of the greatest all-around athletes of all time, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled 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 25th Anniversary Jim Thorpe Award Banquet will be held on Feb. 7.

The Jim Thorpe Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards.

2011 Jim Thorpe Award Watch List
Player Position School Player Position School
Ray-Ray Armstrong SS Miami (Fla.) Leonard Johnson CB Iowa State
Mark Barron SS Alabama Coryell Judie CB Texas A&M
John Boyett FS Oregon Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama
Brandon Boykin CB Georgia Robert Lester FS Alabama
Morris Claiborne CB LSU Markelle Martin SS Oklahoma State
Alfonzo Dennard CB Nebraska TJ McDonald FS USC
Tony Dye CB UCLA Chase Minnifield CB Virginia
Matt Elam SS Florida Marco Nelson FS Tulsa
Antonio Fenelus CB Wisconsin Brian Peters FS Northwestern
Jamell Fleming CB Oklahoma Greg Reid CB Florida State
Donnie Fletcher CB Boston College Xavier Rhodes CB Florida State
Blake Gideon FS Texas Josh Robinson CB UCF
Stephon Gilmore CB South Carolina Trenton Robinson FS Michigan State
Casey Hayward CB Vanderbilt Harrison Smith FS Notre Dame
Jayron Hosley CB Virginia Tech Keith Tandy CB West Virginia
Delano Howell SS Stanford Kenny Tate FS Maryland
Duke Ihenacho SS San Jose State Tramain Thomas FS Arkansas
George Iloka FS Boise State Prentiss Waggner S Tennessee
Tony Jefferson FS Oklahoma