Hughes named to Thorpe watchlist

OREGON STATE senior cornerback Brandon Hughes has been selected as one of 40 preseason candidates for the 24th annual Jim Thorpe Award, presented annually to the nation's premier defensive back.

Hughes, who originally came to OSU as a receiver prospect, has made 31 starts in the secondary.

Hughes made 57 tackles last season, the fifth-highest total on the team. The 2007 Pac-10 second-team honoree from Bloomington, Ill., tied for fifth in the conference with 12 pass deflections.

The Thorpe Award is voted on by a panelist of sportswriters, sportscasters, coaches and former players. The three finalists are invited to the ESPN College Football Awards Show in Orlando in December with the formal presentation Feb. 3 in Oklahoma City.

Hughes is the first Oregon State player to be named to the watch list since 2006 when safety Sabby Piscitelli earned the honor. Cornerback Brandon Browner and safety Mitch Meeuwsen were named to the list in 2004.

Arizona's Antoine Cason won last year's trophy as he was just the third Pac-10 player to hoist the prize since its inception in 1986.

Beaver opponents that made the watch list include Oregon's Jairus Byrd, Walter Thurmond and Patrick Chung, USC's Kevin Ellison and Taylor Mays, and Arizona State's Troy Nolan.

A "Screening Committee" of Jim Thorpe Association members grades the Thorpe Award candidates throughout the season 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 semifinalists. Three finalists are slated to be named on the Monday before Thanksgiving.

The list of finalists is then submitted to a national panel of sports writers, sportscasters, coaches and former players that votes to determine the winner. The finalists are invited to the ESPN College Football Awards Show, during which the winner is announced.

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