OKLAHOMA CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame announced today the three finalists for the 2019 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, awarded to the best defensive back in college football based on performance on the field, athletic ability and character. Grant Delpit (LSU), Jeff Okudah (Ohio State) and J.R. Reed (Georgia) are the three defensive backs chosen for the 2019 finalists list and are listed below in alphabetical order.
Grant Delpit, Louisiana State University, Safety, Jr.
Grant Delpit is a leader in the 2019 Tiger defense and one of just nine players in LSU history to earn unanimous All-America honors. Delpit wears No. 7 this year as a junior after wearing No. 9 his first two years with the Tigers. The No. 7 in LSU football has been passed down to some of the recent greats in the program beginning with Patrick Peterson, and followed by Tyrann Mathieu, Leonard Fournette, and DJ Chark. Delpit was a Finalist for the Nagurski Award as the top defender in college football in 2018 and claimed the 2018 Jack Tatum Award from the Columbus Ohio Touchdown Club as the top defensive back in college football.
Delpit is a tremendous all-around safety who can make plays all over the field. He routinely fills the stat sheet with tackles, sacks, pass breakups and interceptions. He is one of the most versatile players to come through LSU on the defensive side of the ball. As an extremely intelligent defender who has a knack for knowing where the ball is going, Delpit has drawn comparisons to former LSU All-America Jamal Adams. He brings a fierce attitude to the field each day, but is humble off the field.
Delpit has played in 36 games, starting 33 times. His 2019 career high includes 11 tackles vs. Mississippi State. Delpit currently has 184 tackles, 15.0 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks, 29 pass breakups and seven interceptions for his career.
Stats received from Louisiana State University
Jeff Okudah, Ohio State University, Cornerback, Jr.
Jeff Okudah, a Grand Prairie, Texas, native, has played like one of the nation’s most outstanding cornerbacks this season. He is tied for second in the Big Ten with three interceptions and four pass breakups for seven total passes defended, along with 25 tackles. His play has allowed the Ohio State defense to have the nation’s No. 1-ranked unit against the pass, allowing an average of just 126.2 yards per game and a nation’s-low six touchdown passes. Only two opponents have passed for more than 200 yards against the Buckeyes this season, and the team has given up just six pass plays of 30 yards or more, also the best in the nation.
After making his first career interception in a win over Miami of Ohio in the fourth game of the season, Okudah had two interceptions the next week in a 48-7 win at Nebraska. He’s made at least one tackle in nine of 11 games this season and also has two forced fumbles.
Stats received from Ohio State University
J.R. Reed, University of Georgia, Safety, Sr.
Graduate Safety, finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, semifinalist for the Bednarik Award and Frisco, Texas, native, J.R. Reed is fourth on the team with 46 tackles, including two tackles for loss, and has one of the team’s six interceptions. Starting a team leading 40 straight games, Reed forced a fumble during the shutout victory over Kentucky and collected a fumble that he returned 14 yards for a touchdown earlier this season against Murray State. With Reed directing traffic on the Bulldog defense, Georgia leads the SEC in Scoring Defense at 10.7 points/game (No. 2 nationally), Rushing Defense at 68.5 yds/g (No. 2 nationally) and in Total Defense at 267.8 yds/g (No. 5 nationally).
Reed has started all 11 games in 2019, has 46 total tackles (25 solo, 21 assists), 2 tackles for loss of 5 yds., 0.5 sacks for minus-1, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery and 1 forced fumble.
Stats received from University of Georgia
The winner of the 2019 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award will be announced live at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show, Presented by Gildan, on December 12, airing on ESPN. The winner will be honored at a banquet on February 4, 2020, at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
Tickets to the 2019 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Banquet will be available for purchase December 13, 2019. All ticket and sponsorship information should be directed to the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
For its second consecutive year, the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award has released its official Finalists Fan Vote. Voting will close December 9, at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time). The winner of the fan vote will receive one vote towards the overall nationwide results. Only one vote per fan is permitted.
The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association. The NCFAA encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.
The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is awarded to the best defensive back in college football based on performance on the field, athletic ability and character. The award was established in 1986 and is named after history’s greatest all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on the offensive side of the ball, but also stood out as a defensive back. In addition to his legendary performance on the football field, Thorpe played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.
Paycom Software, Inc. (“Paycom”) (NYSE:PAYC), a leading provider of comprehensive, cloud-based human capital management software, and the Jim Thorpe Museum and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame (OSHOF) jointly announced in May of 2017 an exclusive sponsorship of the Jim Thorpe Award. As a result, the accolade has been named “Paycom Jim Thorpe Award.”