OKLAHOMA CITY – Alabama junior defensive back Mark Barron was named to the 2010 Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list on Monday. The Thorpe Award is presented annually to the top defensive back in college football.
Barron is one of 35 players nationally and one of six Southeastern Conference defensive backs named to the initial list for the Thorpe Award. Other SEC players named to the preseason list include Georgia's Brandon Boykin, South Carolina's Stephen Gilmore, Florida's Will Hill and Janoris Jenkins and LSU's Patrick Peterson.
Barron is the Crimson Tide's only returning starter in the defensive secondary. He has played in 28 career games over the last two seasons and has logged 94 tackles. He is Alabama's third consecutive preseason Thrope Award candidate, joining Rashad Johnson (2008) and Javier Arenas (2009).
As a sophomore in 2009, Baron started all 14 games at safety and earned first-team All-SEC and third-team Associated Press All-American honors. He ranked eighth nationally and first in the SEC with seven interceptions (.50 per game). He was also sixth nationally and first in the SEC in passes defended with 18 (1.29 per game). Barron was second on the team with 76 total tackles and his 125 interception return yards tied for the fifth most in a single season in school history. He was third on the team 11 pass breakups.
The Jim Thorpe Award watch list is determined by analysis of the preseason 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 honorable mentions. This procedure determines approximately 30-40 players on the preseason watch list.
The semifinalists are announced in November and the winner is presented at the Home Depot ESPN College Football Awards Show in Orlando in December. The formal presentation of the Jim Thorpe Award takes place in Oklahoma City in February, 2011.