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MT's Byard named to Jim Thorpe Award watch list

Junior the active NCAA leader in interception return yards

July 11, 2014 · @MTAthletics

OKLAHOMA CITY - For the second straight season, Middle Tennessee's Kevin Byard was included in the Jim Thorpe Award watch list as the junior once again has been named as one of the 39 best defensive backs in the nation.

The Jim Thorpe Award is presented to the Best Defensive Back in College Football by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and the Jim Thorpe Association.

Byard, an honorable mention All-Conference USA selection in 2013, started all 13 games for the Blue Raiders last season collecting a career-best 106 tackles, ranking second on the team, to go with a team-most five interceptions, five pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

A native of Lithonia, Georgia, Byard has returned four interceptions for a touchdown in his two seasons at MT, ranking first in Middle Tennessee history. He is currently the active NCAA leader in interception return yards (326), which is also an all-time best in Blue Raider football.

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.

The 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 voted 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 is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football.

2014 Jim Thorpe Award Preseason Watch List

Kevin Byard, Middle Tennessee, Jr.
Bryce Callahan, Rice, Sr.
Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern, Sr.
Sam Carter, TCU, Sr.
Jeremy Cash, Duke, Jr.
Donald Celiscar, Western Michigan, Sr.
Landon Collins, Alabama, Jr.
Blake Countess, Michigan, Jr.
Su'a Cravens, USC, So.
Donte Deayon, Boise State, Jr.
Quandre Diggs, Texas, Sr.
Lorenzo Doss, Tulane, Jr.
Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State, Sr.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon, Sr.
Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech, So.
Clayton Geathers, UCF, Sr.
Jacoby Glenn, UCF, So.
Vernon Hargreaves, Florida, So.
Anthony Harris, Virginia, Sr.
Rocky Hayes, Arkansas State, Jr.
Jeremy Ioane, Boise State, Sr.
Jordan Lucas, Penn State, Jr.
Marcus Peters, Washington, Jr.
Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss, Sr.
Jalen Ramsey, Florida State, So.
Jordan Richards, Stanford, Sr.
Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma, So.
Derron Smith, Fresno State, Sr.
D'Joun Smith, Florida Atlantic, Sr.
Trevon Stewart, Houston, Jr.
Brian Suite, Utah State, Sr.
Cam Thomas, WKU, Sr.
Triston Wade, UTSA, Sr.
Ryland Ward, Bowling Green, Jr.
Trae Waynes, Michigan State, Jr.
Tre'Davious White, LSU, So.
J.J. Whittaker, San Diego State, Sr.
PJ Williams, Florida State, Jr.
Sterling Young, Arkansas State, Sr.

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