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Wednesday, October 5, 2011
McDonald earns defensive back honor

By Pedro Moura

USC safety T.J. McDonald was named the Jim Thorpe defensive back of the week Monday after a two-interception performance in the Trojans' 48-41 win over Arizona last week.

McDonald, a junior, picked off Wildcats quarterback Nick Foles twice in the first quarter and added a fourth-quarter onside kick recovery to lead the USC defense. He also added six tackles and a pass breakup to beat out other contenders for the award, such as LSU's Tyrann Mathieu and Oklahoma's Tony Jefferson.

The Thorpe award, in its 25th season, honors the nation's top defensive back each season, selecting from three finalists determined by a committee. LSU's Patrick Peterson won in 2010, following Tennessee's Eric Berry in 2009.

McDonald was one of 37 players named the award's preseason watch list released in July.