Another day, another watch list. So it goes for the world of college football awards committees.
On Friday morning, the Jim Thorpe Association announced its preseason watch list and Sun Devil safety Alden Darby found his name among the nation's top defensive backs. The Thorpe Association annually awards the Jim Thorpe Award to college football's best defensive back.
Darby joined 74 other defensive backs from teams around the country on the watch list including fellow Pac-12 standouts Ifo Ekpre-Olomu of Oregon, Ed Reynolds of Stanford, and Dion Bailey of USC. Darby is one of just eight Pac-12 defensive backs to be named to the prestigious list.
The Jim Thorpe Award was first handed out in 1986 as Everett Thomas of Baylor took home the honor. Since that time, many future NFL greats such as Deion Sanders, Charles Woodson, and Patrick Peterson have distinguished themselves as Thorpe Award winners.
In 2012, Darby recorded 80 tackles and hauled in three interceptions en route to becoming a Second Team All-Pac-12 performer. Darby's most impressive play of the year came against USC, when he jumped the route on a Matt Barkley pass and took the interception all the way back for a 70 yard touchdown.
If Darby were to win the Thorpe Award, he would have to overcome heavy favorites like Bradley Roby of Ohio State and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama. Darby would be the first Arizona State player to take home the honor and just the third Pac-12 player to do so. Colorado has had two previous winners, but the Buffaloes were not a member of the conference at the time of each player's award.
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