Jefferson, who has also been named to the Bednarik Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch lists, led the 2011 OU team with four interceptions and was third on the squad with 74 tackles. The junior, who has played in a hybrid defensive back role the last two seasons, tied an OU single game record last season with three interceptions against Ball State. Jefferson had nine games with at least five tackles on the year.
A freshman All-America pick in 2010, Jefferson was an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection last season. The Chula Vista, Calif., native registered a team-high four interceptions for Oklahoma along with 74 tackles in 2011. The 5-11, 212-pound safety totaled a career high three tackles for loss on his way to finishing with a team-high eight tackles in a win over No. 5 Florida State last season. In the Sooners' big win over No. 11 Texas, Jefferson had an interception and a sack before ending the regular season with nine tackles at No. 3 Oklahoma State.
The Jim Thorpe Association Watch List includes 35 of the top defensive backs in the country representing 11 conferences, including three from the Big 12. The Thorpe Award watch list is chosen by a screening committee who compiles a list of 30-40 players each year. The list is not final and players who have outstanding seasons are added as the season progresses. The Thorpe Award winner is selected from three finalists and will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards on December 6, 2012 on ESPN.
The Thorpe Award is named after Jim Thorpe and is presented by the 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 2012 Olympics mark the 100-year anniversary of Thorpe winning gold in the decathlon and pentathlon at the Stockholm Olympics.
Nine OU football student-athletes have been named to one or more preseason watch lists this week, including Landry Jones, Kenny Stills and Dominique Whaley (Maxwell Award), Demontre Hurst (Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy), Jefferson (Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Thorpe Award), Tom Wort (Bronko Nagurski Trophy), Ben Habern (Outland Trophy, Rimington Trophy), Michael Hunnicut (Lou Groza Award) and Gabe Ikard (Outland Trophy).
/// SoonerSports PR