((TEXAS A&M PRESS RELEASE))
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. --- Texas A&M strong safety Justin Evans was named one of 16 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is given annually to the top defensive back in college football by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and the Jim Thorpe Association.
Evans, a senior from Wiggins, Miss., has been a consistent defensive play-maker for the 6-1 Aggies, who are ranked No. 9 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25. Evans ranks No. 2 on the team with 52 tackles (7.4 per game) and he leads the Aggies with four interceptions, which is tied for the lead in the SEC and tied for No. 3 in FBS.
Evans shows up in a big way in the Aggies’ biggest games – he is tied for the national lead in pickoffs in games against AP Top 25-ranked teams (2 INTs) and versus teams from Power 5 conferences (4). Rounding out his impressive stat line, Evans has three tackles for loss, six pass breakups, and a blocked kick.
Already this season, Evans has been named the Midseason National Defensive Player of the Year by NFL.com, as well as SEC Defensive Player of the Week (after Auburn) and Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week and the Jim Thorpe Award Player of the Week (after UCLA).
The Thorpe Award is named after history’s greatest athlete, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled at every sport in which he competed, including football at which he played on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. The three Thorpe Award finalists will be named on Monday, November 21st and the winner will be announced at the live Home Depot College Football Awards Show on December 8th airing on ESPN. The winner of the 2016 Thorpe Award will be honored at a banquet in Oklahoma City on February 7, 2017.
THORPE AWARD SEMIFINALISTS
Jaire Alexander, Louisville, So.
Budda Baker, Washington, Jr.
Travon Blanchard, Baylor, Jr.
Justin Evans, Texas A&M, Sr.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama, So.
Malik Hooker, Ohio State, So.
Adoree’ Jackson, USC, Jr.
Desmond King, Iowa, Sr.
Jourdan Lewis, Michigan, Sr.
Kai Nacua, BYU, Sr.
Jabrill Peppers, Michigan, Jr.
Weston Steelhammer, Air Force, Sr.
Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson, Sr.
Tre’Davious White, LSU, Sr.
Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech., Sr.
Andrew Wingard, Wyoming, Sr.