HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Southern Miss junior cornerback Deron Wilson was named to the 2012 Preseason Watch List for the Jim Thorpe award, given to the top defensive back in college football, the Jim Thorpe Association announced on Friday.
Wilson, a New Orleans native, earned All-Conference USA honors last season after starting all 14 games to extend his streak of consecutive starts to 27. He ranked fourth on the team in tackles with 75 (48 solo, 27 assisted) and intercepted a team-high four passes.
Wilson returned two INTs for touchdowns and led the team in passes defended with 17 and broken up with 13. He also became the NCAA's active career leader in interceptions returned for touchdowns with four.
The list is comprised of the 35 of the best defensive backs in college and includes three other C-USA players, including Dexter McCoil of Tulsa, Kemal Ishmael of UCF and D.J. Hayden of Houston.
The Thorpe Award is named after one of history's greatest athletes, 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 mark the 100-year anniversary of Thorpe winning gold in the decathlon and pentathlon at the Stockholm Olympics.
The Jim Thorpe Award watch list is chosen by a screening committee which compiles a list of 30-40 players each year. 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 December 6, 2012 on ESPN.