Church on Jim Thorpe Award Watch List

Toledo Rockets junior strong safety Barry Church has been named to the 2008 Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list. The Jim Thorpe Award is given out annually to the nation's top defensive back.

Barry Church came to Toledo in the fall of 2006 and made an immediate impact. In his first game as a true freshman, Barry started at strong safety as the Rockets took on Iowa State of the Big 12 Conference. In Iowa State's first possession, Church forced a fumble on a jarring hit.

His career took off and he has never looked back.

Now entering his junior season at Toledo, Barry Church finds himself on the 2008 Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list.

Barry is one of 40 collegiate players named to the watch list for the trophy given out each year to the nation's best defensive back.

The Thorpe Award is named after one of the greatest all-around athletes, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled as a running back passer, and kicker on offense, but was an even better defensive back. He is recognized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame 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 preseason All-American teams listed in at least six of the preseason college football magazines. Four points are awarded for First Team, three points for Second Team, two points for Third Team, and one point for Fourth Team and honorable mentions.

Barry Church is one of forty players that made the watch list. The only other Mid-American Conference player to make the list is Western Michigan senior safety Londen Fryar.

The committee that compiled the list will follow each player's season and then meet again on the Monday before Thanksgiving to select three finalists, which will be invited to the ESPN College Football Awards Show in February.

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