Hefney on Thorpe watch list

OKLAHOMA CITY - Tennessee senior defensive back Jonathan Hefney is among the leading candidates for the 2007 Jim Thorpe Award, according to a preseason "watch list" released Wednesday.

A Rock Hill, S.C., native, Hefney was a second-team All-America choice by Rivals.com after finishing eighth in the SEC last year with 96 tackles. He has nine career interceptions and his 226 career tackles are second among active conference players.

Also a talented special teams player, Jonathan Hefney averaged 12.1 yards per punt return in 2006 to place third in the SEC and 17th nationally.

The Thorpe Award, presented annually to the nation's best college defensive back, is named after history's greatest all-around athlete, a man who excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on offense, but also was an awesome defensive back. Recognized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame simply as "The Legend", Thorpe also played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.

The Jim Thorpe Award "watch list" is determined by analysis of the pre-season All-American teams listed in at least six preseason college football 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 good seasons are added as the season progresses.

The watch list is narrowed to 10 semi-finalists the first Monday in November and then to three finalists the Monday before Thanksgiving. The winner is announced on ESPN's College Football Awards Show, nationally telecast on Dec. 6. The official presentation of the award takes place Feb. 12 in Oklahoma City.

2007 Jim Thorpe Award Watch List: Jamar Adams, Sr., Michigan; Josh Barrett, Sr., Arizona State; Zackary Bowman, Sr., Nebraska; Tony Carter, Jr., Florida State; Antoine Cason, Sr., Arizona; Simeon Castille, Sr., Alabama; Quintin Demps, Sr., UTEP; Brandon Flowers, Jr., Virginia Tech; Courtney Greene, Jr., Rutgers; Michael Hamlin, Jr., Clemson; Nic Harris, Jr., Oklahoma; Victor Harris, Jr., Virginia Tech; JONATHAN HEFNEY, SR., TENNESSEE; Chris Horton, Sr., UCLA; Malcolm Jenkins, Jr., Ohio State; Tyrell Johnson, Sr., Arkansas State; Dennis Keyes, Sr., UCLA; Justin King, Jr., Penn State; Jamal Lewis, Sr., Georgia Tech; Dwight Lowery, Sr., San Jose State; Taylor Mays, So., Southern California; Mike Mickens, Jr., Cincinnati; Paul Oliver, Sr., Georgia; Derek Pegues, Jr., Mississippi State; Kenny Phillips, Jr., Miami (Fla.); Myron Rolle, Soph., Florida State; Reggie Smith, Jr., Oklahoma; Marty Tadman, Sr., Boise State; Aqib Talib, Jr., Kansas; Terrell Thomas, Sr., Southern California; DeJuan Tribble, Sr., Boston College; Eric Wicks, Sr., West Virginia; Terrence Wheatley, Sr., Colorado; Trae Williams, Sr., South Florida; Tom Zbikowski, Sr., Notre Dame.


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