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Veterans among 35 of the nation’s best defensive backs

CHICAGO – Ohio State seniors Chimdi Chekwa and Jermale Hines were named to the 2010 Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list Monday, a list that includes 35 of the nation’s best defensive backs.

Chekwa, a senior corner, recorded 43 tackles, one interception and seven pass break-ups last season and has three INT’s and 20 break-ups in his career. He’ll serve as veteran of the defensive backfield this season with 39 career games under his belt.

Senior safety Hines was fourth on the team with 57 tackles last season, 3.5 for loss, while recording one sack and two interceptions – one of which he returned for a touchdown against Wisconsin. Hines played all 13 games in 2009 and has played in 30 career games going into his senior year.

The Thorpe Award is one of college football’s most sought after and prestigious awards. It is named after history’s greatest all-around athlete, a man who excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on offense, but also was an awesome defensive back. Recognized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame simply as “The Legend”, Thorpe also played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.

The Jim Thorpe Award “watch list” is determined by analysis of the pre-season All-American teams listed in at least six pre-season 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 pre-season watch list. This list is not final and players who have outstanding seasons are added as the season progresses.

A “Screening Committee” of Jim Thorpe Association members follows these players throughout the season, watching games and researching information sources to grade Thorpe Award candidates on the basis of performance on the field, athletic ability and character. The committee meets on the first Monday in November to narrow the field to 10 or 12 semi-finalists.

The committee meets again on the Monday before Thanksgiving to select the three finalists. The names of these finalists are submitted to a national panel of about 50 sports writers, sportscasters, coaches and former players who vote to determine the winner. The three finalists are invited to the ESPN College Football Awards Show, and the winner is announced during the show.

Formal presentation of the Jim Thorpe Award takes place at ceremonies in Oklahoma City on the first Tuesday in February following the national signing date for college football recruits.

2010 Jim Thorpe Award Preseason Watch List:

Prince Amukamara – CB – Nebraska Duke Ihenacho – S – San Jose State
Mark Barron – S – Alabama Jaiquwn Jarrett – S – Temple
Brandon Boykin – CB – Georgia Janoris Jenkins – CB – Florida
Curtis Brown – CB – Texas Jeron Johnson – S – Boise State
Kendric Burney – CB – North Carolina Tejay Johnson – S – TCU
Brandon Burton – CB – Utah Shiloh Keo – S – Idaho
Rashad Carmichael – CB – Virginia Tech Brian Lainhart – S – Kent State
Quinton Carter – S – Oklahoma DeAndre McDaniel – S – Clemson
Chimdi Chekwa – CB – Ohio State Rahim Moore – S – UCLA
Don Decicco – S – Pittsburgh Johnny Patrick – CB – Louisville
Ras-1 Dowling – CB – Virginia Patrick Peterson – CB – LSU
Blake Gideon – S – Texas Tyler Sash – S – Iowa
Stephen Gilmore – CB – South Carolina Robert Sands – S – West Virginia
Brandon Harris – CB – Miami Jimmy Smith – CB – Colorado
Will Hill – S – Florida Trevin Wade – CB – Arizona
Jermale Hines – S – Ohio State Deunta Williams – S – North Carolina
Brandon Hogan – CB – West Virginia Aaron Williams – CB – Texas
Davon House – CB – New Mexico State