Allen among Thorpe semifinalists

How good a year is Tennessee's Jason Allen having? Tuesday, he was named one of 12 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award presented to the nation's best college defensive back.

And Allen has a grand total of one interception.

But that, obviously, is only part of the story for the Muscle Shoals, Ala., native who for most of the season has led the Southeastern Conference in tackles after moving to a new position earlier this year.

A cornerback the first two years of his career, Allen helped solidify Tennessee's second-half defensive surge by moving to free safety in September. And since that time, Allen has registered double-figure tackle totals in six of eight games to lead the SEC with 93 stops.

His 15 tackles Oct. 23 against Alabama were a career high and led the Walter Camp Foundation to name him National Defensive Player of the Week.

Allen added 15 tackles a week later in UT's win over South Carolina and has double-figures totals against Florida (14), Auburn (14), Louisiana Tech (10) and Notre Dame (10).

The Jim Thorpe Award list will be narrowed Nov. 22 to three finalists. The winner will be announced Dec. 9 on ESPN's The Home Depot College Football Awards Show.

Winners are selected on the basis of performance on the field, athletic ability and character. Last year's winner was Oklahoma's Derrick Strait.

2004 Jim Thorpe Award Semifinalists: Jason Allen, Jr., Tennessee; James Butler, Sr., Georgia Tech; Thomas Davis, Jr., Georgia; Jim Leonhard, Sr., Wisconsin; Mitch Meeuwsen, Sr., Oregon State; Justin Miller, Jr., Clemson; Brandon Payne, Sr., New Mexico; Carlos Rogers, Sr., Auburn; Antrel Roole, Sr., Miami (Fla.); Ernest Shazor, Sr., Michigan; Corey Webster, Sr., LSU; and Jimmy Williams, Jr., Virginia Tech.

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