Derron Smith Tabbed to Jim Thorpe Award Watch List
Derron Smith will represent Fresno State at the 2014 Mountain West Football Media Days, along with WR Josh Harper
Derron Smith will represent Fresno State at the 2014 Mountain West Football Media Days, along with WR Josh Harper

July 11, 2014

By Jason Clay

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Fresno State safety Derron Smith continues to rack up preseason acclaim, as he was named Friday to the Jim Thorpe Award 2014 preseason watch list.

The preseason watch list features 39 of the nation's best defensive backs, including five from the Mountain West. The MW tied with the ACC, Big Ten and Conference USA for the most selections on the Jim Thorpe Award watch list.

Fresno State's Phillip Thomas became the first player in school history to be a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is presented to the top defensive back in college football. Thomas attended The Home Depot College Football Awards show held at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. back in 2012.

Friday's announcement adds on to the preseason hype for Smith. Here is a list of watch lists and All-America teams he has already been named to this summer:

• Watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award (nation's best defensive back).
• Watch list for the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy (nation's most outstanding defensive player).
• Watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award (College Defensive Player of the Year).
• Watch list for the CFPA Defensive Back of the Year Trophy.
• Watch list for the Lott IMPACT Trophy (college football defensive player with the biggest IMPACT on his team both on and off the field).
• Second-team preseason All-American, Lindy's Sports.
• Third-team preseason All-American, Athlon Sports.
• Third-team preseason All-American, Phil Steele.

Smith is a two-time, first-team All-Mountain West selection. He leads all Bulldogs in games played (42), career tackles (211), interceptions (14) and interception return yardage (275).



His 14 career interceptions are the most of any active FBS player while his return yardage is the second highest in the nation.

The Jim Thorpe Award is one of the most coveted awards in college football. The award was established in 1986 and is named after history's greatest all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled 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.

The Jim Thorpe Award watch list is chosen by a screening committee who compile 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, December 11, 2014 on ESPN.

The Jim Thorpe Award Banquet will be held on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 in Oklahoma City, OK.

"Be Bold" - 2014 Fresno State football season tickets are now on sale and can be ordered online at or over the phone at 559-278-DOGS (3647). The official home of the Fresno State Bulldogs is 940 AM ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes 1600 AM.

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