PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh senior safety Dom DeCicco has been named one of 35 candidates for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented annually to the nation's top defensive back by the Jim Thorpe Association.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound DeCicco (Jefferson, Pa./Thomas Jefferson) is the top safety in the Big East and one of the finest nationally. Entering his third year as a starter in Pitt's secondary, he is the unquestioned "quarterback" of the defense and makes all the calls.
Last year, DeCicco was an All-Big East selection after compiling 88 tackles, three interceptions, three PBUs and a forced fumble. A ball hawk whether he is defending the run or pass, he has seven interceptions over the past two seasons.
DeCicco will be among the candidates evaluated by a Jim Thorpe Award screening committee, which will follow all eligible players throughout the season, watching games and researching information to grade players 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.
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 sportswriters, sportscasters, coaches and former players who vote to determine the winner. The three finalists are invited to the December ESPN College Football Awards Show, where the winner will be announced.