The Jim Thorpe Award
watch list, presented annually by the Jim Thorpe Association to the
nation’s best defensive back, is named after one of history’s greatest all-around
athletes and based on on-field performance, athletic ability and
WVU senior Brandon Hogan and junior Robert Sands form the only Big East teammate duo on the list, as the Mountaineers are the only league school to have two representatives.
The 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
mention. This procedure determines approximately 30-40 players on the
preseason watch list. The list is not final and players who have
outstanding seasons are added as the season progresses.
Hogan, a Manassas, Va., native, returns after leading the
Mountaineers last season with 46 solo tackles and 11 pass breakups. A
2009 SI.com honorable mention All-American, the cornerback finished
third on the team with 74 total tackles, and in just two seasons at the
position, owns 134 career total tackles. Hogan has been named all-Big East preseason first team by Athlon Sports, Phil Steele, Sporting News
and Yahoo! Sports.
Sands, a native of Miami, Fla., will again lead the
Mountaineers’ secondary attack. The safety, named preseason second
team All-American by Phil Steele’s, returns after leading WVU in 2009
with five interceptions. The all-BIG EAST honoree also ranked fifth on
the team with 65 total tackles, including 37 solo stops, and registered
3.5 tackles for loss and eight pass breakups. Sands, tabbed the
“Hardest Hitter” by Sporting News, also has been named all-Big East preseason first team by Athlon Sports, Phil Steele, Sporting News
and Yahoo! Sports.
A committee of Jim Thorpe Association members will narrow the
field to 10 or 12 semi-finalists on the first Monday in November, and
will select the three finalists on the Monday before Thanksgiving. The
names of these finalists are then submitted to a national panel of about
50 sports writers, sportscasters, coaches and former players who vote to
determine the winner. The finalists are invited to the ESPN College
Football Awards Show, where the winner is announced.