LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne named to Jim Thorpe Award watch list

Staff reports
Morris Claiborne (17) celebrates with Tyrann Mathieu (14) during an LSU home game last season.

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne has made another preseason award watch list as the junior has been named a candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award, which goes annually to college football's most outstanding defensive back.

The Thorpe Award, one of the most coveted awards in college football, is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2011. The award, established in 1986, is named after history's greatest all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe. Thirty-seven players representing nine conferences have been named to the preseason watch list.

The Thorpe Award watch list is chosen by a screening committee who compile a list of 30-40 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 Dec. 8, 2011 on ESPN.

Former teammate Patrick Peterson claimed the honor last season, becoming LSU's first Thorpe winner.

Claiborne, a native of Shreveport, is a preseason first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection by the league's coaches. He is one of 10 SEC players who made the list. Claiborne is also on watch lists for the Bednarik Award and Nagurski Award.

Claiborne led the Tigers and ranked fourth in the SEC with 11 passes defended as a sophomore. He also picked off a team-high five passes, which ranked third in the league.

In 19 career games, Claiborne has notched 44 tackles, six pass breakups and five interceptions.

Thorpe Award Watch List

Ray Ray Armstrong, Miami (FL), SS

Mark Barron, Alabama, SS

John Boyett, Oregon, FS

Brandon Boykin, Georgia, CB

Morris Claiborne, LSU, CB

Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska, CB

Tony Dye, UCLA, CB

Matt Elam, Florida, SS

Antonio Fenelus, Wisconsin, CB

Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma, CB

Donnie Fletcher, Boston College, CB

Blake Gideon, Texas, FS

Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina, CB

Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt, CB

Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech, CB

Delano Howell, Stanford, SS

Duke Ihenacho, San Jose State, SS

George Iloka, Boise State, FS

Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma, FS

Leonard Johnson, Iowa State, CB

Coryell Judie, Texas A&M, CB

Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama, CB

Robert Lester, Alabama, FS

Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State, SS

TJ McDonald, USC, FS

Chase Minnifield, Virginia, CB

Marco Nelson, Tulsa, FS

Brian Peters, Northwestern, FS

Greg Reid, Florida State, CB

Xavier Rhodes Florida State, CB

Josh Robinson, UCF, CB

Trenton Robinson, Michigan State, FS

Harrison Smith, Notre Dame, FS

Keith Tandy, West Virginia, CB

Kenny Tate, Maryland, FS

Tramain Thomas, Arkansas, FS