Oklahoma junior safety Tony Jefferson has been named one of 15 semifinalists for the 2012 Jim Thorpe Award, given to the top defensive back in college football. The three finalists for the award will be announced on Nov. 19.

Oklahoma junior safety Tony Jefferson has been named one of 15 semifinalists for the 2012 Jim Thorpe Award, given to the top defensive back in college football. The three finalists for the award will be announced on Nov. 19.


The Chula Vista, Calif., native leads the Sooners with 59 tackles, including a team-high 36 solo stops. Jefferson has registered double-digit tackles in four games this season, including a team-high 11 tackles against Notre Dame and a career-best 14 stops against Kansas State.


Jefferson was a member of the 2012 Jim Thorpe Preseason Watch List released this past summer after garnering All-Big 12 honorable mention accolades in 2011. He was also named to the Bednarik, Camp and Nagurski Award watch lists.


Jefferson garnered Jim Thorpe Defensive Back of the Week honors on Oct. 17 after recording a team-high seven tackles and an interception for Oklahoma in its 63-21 win over Texas.


The Thorpe Award is named after history’s greatest athlete, Jim Thorpe, and is presented by the Jim Thorpe Association in Oklahoma City. 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 2012 Olympics marked the 100-year anniversary of Thorpe winning gold in the decathlon and pentathlon at the Stockholm Olympics.


The Thorpe Award winner is selected from three finalists and will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 6  on ESPN.


Thorpe Award Semifinalists

Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon
Matt Elam, Florida
Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma
Nigel Malone, Kansas State
Dexter McCoil, Tulsa
T.J. McDonald, USC
Dee Milliner, Alabama
Zeke Motta, Notre Dame
Jordan Poyer, Oregon State
Eric Reid, LSU
Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
Bradley Roby, Ohio State
Logan Ryan, Rutgers
Phillip Thomas, Fresno Statw