Thorpe Award for Allen?

One of the experts at thinks Tennessee's Jason Allen will win the Thorpe Award as the NCAA's premier defensive back this fall.

Matthew Zemek projects Allen to edge out Virginia Tech's Jimmy Williams for the coveted honor, noting that: "With Tennessee poised to make a huge run, Allen gets a slight nod. Virginia Tech will win its own conference but the Vols will do more than win the SEC; they'll go to Pasadena to try to tackle Troy."

Translation: Zemek expects Tennessee to face Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl for the National Championship on Jan. 4.

Allen led the Southeastern Conference in tackles last season with 123. He spurned the NFL draft to return for his senior season of college ball but is making the move from safety to cornerback, the position he played as a Vol sophomore in 2003.

Another expert, Pete Fiutak, ranks Gerald Riggs of UT No. 5 on his list of leading contenders for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the NCAA's premier running back.

For what it's worth, CFN'com's Richard Cirminiello tabs Florida quarterback Chris Leak his No. 5 contender for the Heisman Trophy.

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