The Pac-10 conference has renamed its annual defensive player of the year award in football the Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Tillman, a former standout linebacker at Arizona State, was killed in action in Afghanistan in April while serving his country as a member of the Army Rangers. The Pac-10's head football coaches came up with the suggestion to rename the award, and the change was approved by the Conference's Directors of Athletics at league meetings last week.

Tillman was awarded the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year Award following his senior season in 1997. That year he led a Sun Devil defensive unit that topped the Pac-10 in scoring defense, and helped ASU to a 9-3 mark, including a win over Iowa in the Sun Bowl.

In addition to being named Pac-10 defensive player of the year that season, Tillman also was a first-team All-America selection and, with a 3.82 grade-point average in marketing, earned first-team Academic All-America honors as well.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories