King Named Finalist for Jim Thorpe Award

Nov. 24, 2015

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa defensive back Desmond King is one of three finalists for the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the top defensive back in college football. The announcement was made Tuesday by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.

King is the first Hawkeye to be named a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award. Merton Hanks was a semifinal candidate in 1990, and Tyler Sash was a semifinal candidate in both 2009 and 2010.


The finalists were unveiled Tuesday on the Home Depot College football Awards Nomination Special on ESPNU. The winner of the 31st Jim Thorpe Award will be revealed on ESPN during the Home Depot 25th Anniversary College Football Awards. Other finalists include Jeremy Cash of Duke and Vernon Hargreaves, III of Florida.

The 25th anniversary show will be hosted by Chris Fowler, who will be joined by Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, Tom Rinaldi and Samantha Ponder. The show will air live from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta on Thursday, Dec. 10, from 7-9 p.m. ET.

King was named the Jim Thorpe national Defensive Player of the Week and Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Week following Iowa’s win at Wisconsin. King was also recently named one of 15 Players to Watch for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award. He is also the first Hawkeye with multiple multi-interception games in a season since Tyler Sash in 2009.

King (5-foot-11, 200-pounds), is a junior from Detroit, Michigan (East English Village HS). He is tied for first in the nation with eight interceptions (0.7 per game). King has multiple interceptions in two games, with two thefts in wins over Pittsburgh and Wisconsin.

King’s eight interceptions tie the Iowa single-season record, a mark previously reached by Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick (1939) and Lou King (1981). His seventh interception of the season was returned 88 yards for a touchdown in a win over Maryland, the second touchdown return of his career (Indiana, 2014).

King has recorded 37 solo tackles and 17 assists, with one tackle for loss. He leads the Hawkeyes with 10 pass break-ups. King also ranks second in the Big Ten in KO returns (25.6) and is third in punt returns (12.7). Iowa leads the Big Ten in both turnover margin (+11) and interceptions (13).

Iowa is 11-0 for the first time in school history and joins Clemson as the only undefeated FBS teams in the nation. Iowa is ranked third in both the Associated Press and coaches polls. Iowa closes the regular season Friday at Nebraska (2:36 p.m., ABC).

The Hawkeyes have won the Big Ten West Division and will participate in the Big Ten Championship game on Saturday, Dec. 5 in Indianapolis (7:17 p.m. CT, FOX).

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.

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