LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky junior safety Mike Edwards is one of the nation’s top 45 defensive backs to earn a spot on the 2017 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list, it was announced Friday. The award is given annually to the best defensive back in college football based on performance on the field, athletic ability and character.
Edwards led all Southeastern Conference defensive backs in tackles in 2016 with 100 and was one of just six players overall in the SEC with 100 or more tackles on the season. He ranked second on the team and seventh overall in the SEC in tackles per game (7.7) and tied for 10th in the conference in total passes defended (11). He was a second-team Associated Press All-SEC selection, and was a third-team pick by Athlon and Phil Steele.
Edwards had two interceptions of Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson in Kentucky’s win over No. 11 Louisville in 2016, earning him SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week.
The Cincinnati native was recently chosen as one of three players to represent Kentucky at the annual SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala.
The award was established in 1986 and is named after history’s greatest all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled not only 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 will be named the “Paycom Jim Thorpe Award.”
The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award watch list is chosen by a screening committee who compiles a list of 30-50 players. 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 Thursday, Dec. 7 on ESPN.
The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Banquet will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, in Oklahoma.
The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 23 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit www.NCFAA.org to learn more about our story.