Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard was named this year’s Jim Thorpe Award winner, which recognizes the nation’s top defensive back in college football.
Dennard is the first player from Michigan State to win the award and the sixth Big Ten player to win the honor. The last Big Ten player to win the Jim Thorpe Award was Ohio State’s Malcolm Jenkins in 2008. Dennard was difficult to throw deep on with his solid coverage skills and speed. The senior also showed some good hands with four interceptions this season as he helped Michigan State’s defense shut down opponent after opponent, including Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game last weekend.
Dennard beat out Florida State’s LaMarcus Joyner and Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert for the award.
The Jim Thorpe Award is presented annually by the Jim Thorpe Association. It was first awarded in 1986 to Baylor’s Thomas Everett. Last year’s winner was Mississippi State’s Johnathan Banks.