The award is based in Oklahoma City.
Earlier, Harris, a senior from Alexandria, La., was named to the preseason watch list for the Bednarik Award, which is designated for college football's top defensive player.
Harris was a first-team All-Big 12 selection last season after recording 74 tackles and two interceptions. He also tied for second on the team with 9.5 tackles for loss.
The Jim Thorpe Award Watch List is determined by analysis of the pre-season All-America teams listed in at least six pre-season annual magazines. Four points are awarded for First Team, three points for second team, two points for third and one point for fourth teams and honorable mentions. This procedure determines approximately 40 players on the pre-season watch list.
This list is not final and players who have outstanding seasons are added as the season progresses.
A screening committee of Jim Thorpe Association members follows these players throughout the season, watching games and researching sources to grade candidates on the basis of performance on the field, athletic ability and character. The committee meets on the first Monday in November to narrow the field to 10 or 12 semi-finalists.
The committee meets again on the Monday before Thanksgiving to select the three finalists. The names of these finalists are submitted to a national panel of about 50 sports writers, sportscasters, coaches and former players who vote to determine the winner. The three finalists are invited to the ESPN College Football Awards Show, and the winner is announced during the show.
Formal presentation of the Jim Thorpe Award takes place at ceremonies in Oklahoma City on the first Tuesday in February following the national signing date for college football recruits.
Harris is trying to become the fourth OU player to win the Thorpe Award. Rickey Dixon won it in 1987, Roy Williams in 2001 and Derrick Strait in 2003.