Oklahoma City—The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award 2017 watch list was announced today and includes 45 of the nation’s best defensive backs. Heath Harding, a member of the Miami University football team, is one of those included on the preseason list.
This is Harding’s third preseason award in less than a week. Earlier, he was named to the Bednarik and Bronko Nagurski Watch Lists.
The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is one of the most coveted awards in college football. It is awarded to the best defensive back in college football based on performance on the field, athletic ability and character. The award was established in 1986 and is named after history’s greatest all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled not only as a running back, passer, and kicker on the offensive side of the ball; but also stood out as a defensive back. In addition to his legendary performance on the football field, Thorpe played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.
Harding, a first-team All-MAC performer last season, finished the year with 67 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions and 11 pass break-ups.
In his career, the fifth-year senior has 227 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, nine interceptions and 21 pass breakups in 40 games.
The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award watch list is chosen by a screening committee who compiles a list of 30-50 players. The list is not final, and players who have outstanding seasons are added as the season progresses. The Thorpe Award Winner is selected from three finalists and will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, December 7, 2017, on ESPN.