The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and Jim Thorpe Association Are Proud to Reveal the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award 2020 Preseason Watch List

OKLAHOMA CITY–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame (OSHOF) and Jim Thorpe Association release today the prestigious Paycom Jim Thorpe Award’s preseason watch list. This list includes 49 of the nation’s best defensive backs, representing 10 conferences. The preseason watch list is selected by a screening committee whose members compile a list of up to 50 players. This list is not final and players who have outstanding seasons may be added as the season progresses.

2020 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Preseason Watch List

Paulson Adebo, Stanford, Sr.

Reed Blankenship, Middle Tennessee State, Sr.

Eric Burrell, Wisconsin, Sr.

Camryn Bynum, California, Sr.

T.J. Carter, Memphis, Sr.

Andre Cisco, Syracuse, So.

Kenderick Duncan, Jr., Georgia Southern, Jr.

Greg Eisworth, Iowa State, Sr.

Kaiir Elam, Florida, So.

Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech, Jr.

Paris Ford, Pitt, Jr.

Kaleb Ford-Dement, Old Dominion, Jr.

Darrick Forrest, Cincinnati, Sr.

Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati, So.

Thomas Graham, Jr., Oregon, Sr.

Richie Grant, UCF, Sr.

Darren Hall, San Diego State, Jr.

Brontae Harris, UAB, Sr.

Kolby Harvell-Peel, Oklahoma State, Jr.

Tyrone Hill, Buffalo, Sr.

Jevon Holland, Oregon, Jr.

Talanoa Hufanga,USC, Jr.

Shaun Jolly, Appalachian State, Jr.

Kekaula Kaniho, Boise State, Sr.

Derion Kendrick, Clemson, Jr.

Richard LeCounte, Georgia, Sr.

Trevon Moehrig, TCU, Jr.

Elijah Molden, Washington, Sr.

Israel Mukuamu, South Carolina, Jr.

Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida State, Sr.

Dell Pettus, Troy, So.

Antonio Phillips, Ball State, Sr.

Aaron Robinson, UCF, Sr.

Emmanuel Rugamba, Miami (OH), Sr.

Caden Sterns, Texas, So.

JaCoby Stevens, LSU, Sr.

Derek Stingley, Jr., LSU, So.

Eric Stokes, Georgia, Jr.

Corey Straughter, ULM, Sr.

Patrick Surtain II, Alabama, Jr.

Ambry Thomas, Michigan, Sr.

Tariq Thompson, San Diego State, Sr.

Amechi Uzodinma, Ball State, Jr.

Shaun Wade, Ohio State, Jr.

Lamont Wade, Penn State, Sr.

Jalen Walker, Boise State, Sr.

Jermaine Waller, Virginia Tech, Jr.

Sterling Weatherford, Miami (OH), Jr.

James Wiggins, Cincinnati, Sr.

By Conference

AAC (6), ACC (6), BIG 10 (4), BIG 12 (4), C-USA (3), MAC (5), MW (4), PAC-12 (6), SEC (7), SUN BELT (4)

A preseason watch list is compiled by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame based on previous performance and preseason All-America lists. A screening committee, consisting of OSHOF members, monitor the watch list players and narrow the field to 10 to 15 semifinalists on the first Monday of November. This committee reconvenes on the Monday before Thanksgiving to select three award finalists. The three finalists are submitted to a national panel of over 250 sports writers, sportscasters, former players and coaches who vote to determine the winner of the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award.

All three finalists are invited and required to attend The Home Depot College Football Awards Show Presented by Gildan, broadcast live on ESPN from Atlanta, Georgia, where the winner is announced. Other recognized National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) awards announced include the Bednarik Award, Maxwell Award, Mackey Award, Rimington Trophy, Lou Groza Award, Ray Guy Award, Bronko Nagurski Award, Outland Trophy, Butkus Award, Lombardi Award, Biletnikoff Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Doak Walker Award and Walter Camp Award.

The official presentation of the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award takes place in Oklahoma City, following ESPN’s live presentation at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show. The current winner and all former winners are invited each year to celebrate. Over 800 supporters attend the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Banquet each year, including many celebrities and dignitaries.

For more information on the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award and past award recipients, please visit the link below.

NCFAA members are unveiling preseason watch lists over a 10-day period this month. Fourteen of the association’s 25 awards will present their preseason watch lists during this time, as the NCFAA has spearheaded a coordinated effort to promote each award’s preseason candidates. Following is the complete 2020 preseason watch list calendar:

Monday, July 13: Bednarik Award

Tuesday, July 14: Davey O’Brien Award

Wednesday, July 15: Doak Walker Award

Thursday, July 16: Biletnikoff Award

Friday, July 17: Mackey Award

Monday, July 20: Butkus Award/Paycom Jim Thorpe Award

Tuesday, July 21: Bronko Nagurski Trophy/Outland Trophy

Wednesday, July 22: Lou Groza Award/Ray Guy Award

Thursday, July 23: Hornung Award/Wuerffel Trophy

Friday, July 24: Maxwell Award

Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Important Dates

July 20, 2020

Preseason watch list announced

Nov. 2, 2020

Semifinalists announced

Nov. 23, 2020

Finalists announced

Dec. 10, 2020

Paycom Jim Thorpe Award winner announced live on ESPN on The Home Depot College Football Awards Presented by Gildan

February 2021

35th Anniversary Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Banquet honoring the 2020 recipient



Grant Delpit is one of just nine players in LSU history to earn unanimous All-America honors. Delpit was a finalist for the Nagurski Award as the top defender in college football in 2018 and claimed the 2018 Jack Tatum Award from the Columbus Ohio Touchdown Club as the top defensive back in college football. Delpit was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the 44th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award 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 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. The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is universally accepted as one of the nation’s top collegiate sports honors.

Paycom Software, Inc. (“Paycom”) (NYSE:PAYC), a leading provider of comprehensive, cloud-based human capital management software, and the Jim Thorpe Museum and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame jointly announced in May 2017 an exclusive sponsorship of the Jim Thorpe Award. As a result, the accolade has been named the “Paycom Jim Thorpe Award.”

The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit and @NCFAA on Twitter to learn more about this association.


Olivia James

Marketing Communications & Event Director

Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame

Home of the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award

Office (405) 427-1400

Direct (405) 402-1836

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