Site Search
Google Search
search button
Breaking News: Trump Says Michael Cohen Wonít Turn Against Him     - | -     The Million Dollar Question, Will The President Fire Mueller     - | -     Family Of Myanmar Police Chief Evicted From Police Housing     - | -     Nicaragua Protests Over Social Security System Leaves At Least 10 Dead     - | -     Former Smallville Star Allison Mack Charged With Connection To Sex Trafficking Cult     - | -     GOP Congressman Invokes 'The Deep State'
Big Ten Football: Breaking Down the Jim Thorpe Award Candidates
Get Sports Alerts

viewsViews 569
14 Jul 2017 02:32 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Penn State’s Marcus Allen tackles Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson. (Image Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

On Friday, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame released their Thorpe Award preseason watch list, which included five players from the Big Ten. Here’s how they breakdown:

The Senior Safeties:

Marcus Allen, Penn State Nittany Lions:

Best known for the blocked field goal that resulted in the game-winning touchdown against Ohio State, Marcus Allen is a stellar defender who stepped into the starting lineup in the middle of his freshman season. A superior tackler, Allen finished third in the conference in stops, tops among all B1G defensive backs. At his best against the run, the strong safety has accumulated 249 tackles so he really knows how to fill up that stat sheet.

Godwin Igwebuike, Northwestern Wildcats:

Like Allen, Godwin Igwebuike is also on the Bednarik Award watch list. The senior has improved each and every year in Evanston and he is expected to lead the Northwestern defense this season. Igwebuike is a big-time hitter who led the Wildcats with over 100 tackles last season and should push Allen to be the leading tackler among defensive backs from the Big Ten this season. A smart player, Igwebuike is among the most technically sound tacklers in the country and he finished ninth nationally with six solo stops per game as a junior.

Preseason Watch Lists: Bednarik | Mackey | Maxwell |

The Senior Cornerbacks:

Rashad Fant, Indiana Hoosiers:

Active and experienced, Rashad Fant enters the 2017 campaign as the active FBS leader in career pass break ups with 44 and passes defended with 48. The speedy defensive back is a pure cover corner who can handle the responsibilities of playing on an island in man-to-man coverage. Projected as a first-team All-B1G selection by most, Fant is a big reason the Hoosiers defense has made major strides over the past couple of seasons. He will also help versus the run but must convert more interceptions (four career INTs), if he’s going to make noise nationally.

Chris Jones, Nebraska Cornhuskers:

Like most of the players on this watch list, Chris Jones dabbled with the idea of declaring for the NFL Draft before deciding to return to school. The Cornhusker will be entering his third year as a starter, coming off an All-Big Ten honorable mention junior season which saw him break up 10 passes and intercept three. He’s put on nearly 25 pounds of mostly muscle on his 6’0” frame since he arrived in Lincoln, giving him excellent size for a cornerback.

The New Starter:

Denzel Ward, Ohio State Buckeyes:

Despite being a first-year starter for the Buckeyes, Denzel Ward is the only Big Ten cornerback who earned a spot on the Bednarik Award watch list. That’s how highly he’s though of nationally. While he came off the bench last season, Ward still managed to get in on 468 snaps, mostly as a nickel back. There’s no shame in backing up Marshon Lattimore and Garrett Conley, a pair of first round picks. An excellent coverman, Ward managed to tie Lattimore for the team lead with nine pass break ups. An elite athlete, the junior has been timed as the “fastest Buckeye” according to the school, which is part of the reason why the future high pick is probably the B1G’s best chance to win the Thorpe Award.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email:

Post Your Comment
Excellent Very Good Good Fair Poor

Recently Posted Comments
AllMediaNY AllMediaNY AllMedaiNY