Thorpe Watch List Has Three Tiders

The watch lists for the nation's top college football players continued to be revealed Monday with the release of those on the Thorpe Award watch list for college football's best defensive back. Alabama led the way with three players among the 37 selected as the nation's best.

It was no great surprise that three returning starters in Alabama's secondary were on the Thorpe Award watch list. They are strong safety Mark Barron, safety Robert Lester, and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.

Barron was first team All-America last year as a junior. He's a 6-2, 218-pound senior from Mobile who has been a two-year starter. He led the Southeastern Conference in interceptions in 2009, helping the Crimson Tide to the national championship.

Lester became a starter last year. He's a 6-2, 210-pound junior from Foley who had eight interceptions in 2010, leading the SEC and second in the nation.

Kirkpatrick, a 6-3, 192-pound junior from Gadsden, had three interceptions and broke up seven passes in his first year as a starter last season.

The Thorpe Award is celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2011. The Award, established in 1986, is named after one of history's greatest all-around athletes, 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 Jim Thorpe Award watch list is chosen by a screening committee which compiles a list of 30-40 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 December 8, 2011 on ESPN.

The 25th Anniversary Jim Thorpe Award Banquet will be held on Tuesday, February 7, 2012 in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Six others from the SEC are on the watch list. They are:

Brandon Boykin, Georgia, CB; Morris Claiborne, LSU, CB; Matt Elam, Florida, SS; Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina, CB; Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt, CB; Tramain Thomas, Arkansas, FS; and Prentiss Waggner, Tennessee, SS.

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