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 Morris Claiborne of LSU (2011), Patrick Peterson of LSU (2010), Eric Berry of Tennessee (2009), Malcolm Jenkins of Ohio State (2008), Antoine Cason of Arizona (2007), and Aaron Ross of Texas (2006).
To find out the official winners of college football's major awards, tune into "The Home Depot College Football Awards" show live on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 6. Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, Tom Rinaldi and Samantha Steele 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, Fla.
Statistics as of Monday, Nov. 19.
The Jim Thorpe Award Nominees
Johnthan Banks: The preseason All-American is having another huge season; his four interceptions rank second on the team. He also has accounted for six passes broken up and 10 passes deflected. Banks is one of the team leaders in tackles with 56. The senior corner has been outstanding throughout his career at Mississippi State and tied the school record for most career interceptions earlier this season, with his 16th career pick.
Dee Milliner: Alabama's junior corner back has made plays all over the field this season and is widely considered one of the nation's best defensive players. He is among the team leaders with 45 tackles, and has two sacks, two interceptions, 14 passes broken up and 16 passes deflected. Milliner is one of the reasons Alabama (10-1) has a chance to return to the national championship game.
Phillip Thomas: Fresno State's defensive star missed all of last season after suffering a broken leg and dislocated ankle. He came back with a vengeance, recording a team-high eight interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns. Thomas also leads his team with 73 tackles (10.5 for loss), and has accounted for three sacks, three forced fumbles, four passes broken up and 12 passes deflected.