The Thorpe Award has been presented since 1986 to the best defensive back, based on performance on the field, athletic ability and character. Recent winners include Malcolm Jenkins of Ohio State (2008), Antoine Cason of Arizona (2007), Aaron Ross of Texas (2006), Michael Huff of Texas (2005), Carlos Rogers of Auburn (2004), Derrick Strait of Oklahoma (2003), Terence Newman of Kansas State (2002) and Roy Williams of Oklahoma (2001).
To find out the official winners of college football's major awards, tune into The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards, (live on ESPN, Thursday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. ET). Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit will host the show which will originate from the Atlantic Dance Hall on Disney's Boardwalk at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Eric Berry:The emotional leader of the Volunteers' defense, Berry's overall interception numbers are down this year, no doubt due to the fact that opposing quarterbacks are loathe to challenge him. Berry was one of the few defenders to intercept Tim Tebow, doing so in a 23-13 loss to the Gators.
Joe Haden: Haden has as many sacks (three) as he does interceptions, highlighting the cornerback's defensive versatility. The Gators have held opponents to a touchdown or less in six out of their eleven games, a testament to the dominance of Haden and the rest of Florida's defensive veterans.
Earl Thomas: Texas' elite safety has been making offenses pay for challenging him all season long. Three of his seven interceptions this year have gone for touchdowns, including a 92-yard scamper against Colorado.