Dec. 10, 2015
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa defensive back Desmond King has been named the winner of the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award. The announcement was made Thursday at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show in Atlanta, Georgia.
King is the first Hawkeye to earn the award as the top defensive back in college football. King was earlier named the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Conference Defensive Back of the Year. Also on Thursday, King was named to the Walter Camp All-America first team squad.
“It’s an honor to win the Jim Thorpe Award and be in a category with the great defensive backs that came before me,” said King. “Just to represent the name Jim Thorpe is an honor. Hopefully I can live up to it.”
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 named one of five Players to Watch for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award.
“Winning the Thorpe Award is a great honor for Desmond, and a tribute to the hard work he put in before and during the season,” said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. “The honor is a reflection on how well our guys played as a team this season. We received outstanding play from our defense, offense, and special teams. Desmond played a key role for our defense and served as a catalyst for our special teams as well.”
King (5-foot-11, 200-pounds), is a junior from Detroit, Michigan (East English Village HS). He is second in the nation with eight interceptions. King has multiple interceptions in two games, with two thefts in wins over Pittsburgh and Wisconsin. He is the first Hawkeye with multiple multi-interception games in a season since Tyler Sash in 2009.
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 67 tackles, with one tackle for loss, and 12 pass break-ups to go with his eight interceptions. King has also handled kickoff returns (25.6) and punt returns (12.7) throughout the season.
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, Oklahoma, in January. Thorpe excelled at every sport in which he competed, including football, at which he played on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
Iowa (12-1) will meet Stanford (11-2) in the 2016 Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day (4:10 p.m. CT) in Pasadena, California. Iowa completed a perfect regular season with a school record 12 wins, winning the West Division before falling to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship (16-13).