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Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
The preseason award watch lists continue to roll in, with the Thorpe Award up next. Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins took home the hardware last year, but the Big Ten doesn't have a major presence on the list of candidates entering the 2009 season.
Ohio State safety Kurt Coleman and Iowa cornerback Amari Spievey were the only Big Ten players selected to the list.
Coleman is projected as the Big Ten's top safety after recording four interceptions, five pass breakups and a forced fumble to go along with 78 tackles last season for the Buckeyes. Spievey emerged as an elite corner in 2008 with four interceptions (127 return yards), 10 pass deflections, a forced fumble and 68 tackles, which ranked third on the team.
I'd be surprised if the Thorpe Award doesn't go to Tennessee's Eric Berry or USC's Taylor Mays, but that's why they play the season. Both Coleman and Spievey can put themselves in the mix with big games against USC (Coleman) and Penn State (Spievey).
It was somewhat surprising not to see Minnesota cornerback Traye Simmons on the Thorpe watch list. Simmons led the Big Ten in passes defended (18) and recorded four interceptions.