Oct. 26, 2015
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa defensive back Desmond King is one of 16 semifinalists for the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award, given to the top defensive back in college football. The announcement was made Monday by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
King (5-foot-11, 200-pounds), is a junior from Detroit, Michigan (East English Village HS). He leads the Big Ten Conference and ranks second in the nation with six interceptions (0.9 per game). King has multiple interceptions in two games, with two thefts in wins over Pittsburgh and Wisconsin.
King has recorded 22 solo tackles and nine assists, with one tackle for loss. He leads the Hawkeyes with seven pass break-ups. Iowa ranks third in the nation in rushing defense (74.1), 10th in scoring defense (15.3), 12th in total defense (294.3), and 20th in pass efficiency defense (107.75).
King was named the Jim Thorpe national Defensive Player of the Week and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week following Iowa’s win at Wisconsin. His six interceptions are the most for a Hawkeye in a season since Tyler Sash had six in 2009. He is also the first Hawkeye with multiple multi-interception games in a season since Sash in 2009.
King is also Iowa’s primary KO and punt returner. He averages 15.7 yards on 10 punt returns to rank second in the Big Ten. He is averaging 22.5 yards on 12 KO returns. He had a key punt return in the fourth quarter in a win at Iowa State. He later had an interception against Iowa State that led to Iowa’s final touchdown.
King recorded interceptions on Pitt’s first two possessions of the game in Iowa’s last-second win. His first theft at Wisconsin led to the only touchdown of the game in Iowa’s 10-6 win in Madison. His sixth interception in seven games led directly to an Iowa field goal at Northwestern as Iowa recorded a 40-10 road win.
The list of semifinalists includes two additional players from the Big Ten Conference, including Vonn Bell of Ohio State and Jourdan Lewis of Michigan. The list includes six seniors, eight juniors, and two sophomores. The 16 semifinalists represent eight conferences.
The Jim Thorpe Award was established in 1986 and is named after history’s greatest all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe, and is presented by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and Jim Thorpe Association in Oklahoma City. Thorpe excelled at every sport in which he competed, including football, at which he played on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. The three Thorpe Award finalists will be named on Nov. 23, with the winner being announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 10 (ESPN). The winner of the 2015 Thorpe Award will be honored at a banquet in Oklahoma City on Feb. 2, 2016.
The Jim Thorpe Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Beginning in 2015, The Home Depot College Football Awards will have a new home at the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience in downtown Atlanta.
Iowa (7-0, 3-0), ranked in the Associated Press top 10 for the first time since Sept.12, 2010, entertains Maryland (2-5, 0-3) Saturday (2:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2) in Kinnick Stadium.
Tickets are on sale for Iowa’s three remaining home games, and are available online at hawkeyesports.com, by calling 1-800-IA-HAWKS, or in person at the UI athletics ticket office located in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. A $25 youth ticket is available for home games vs. Maryland and Purdue (Nov. 21).