IU Athletics Release
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana fifth-year senior cornerback Rashard Fant was named to the 2017 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Watch List, it was announced today. Fant is one of five Big Ten defensive backs on the list.
The recognition is Fant's second in as many days, as he is a member of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List. He also is a candidate for the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.
Entering the 2017 season, Fant is the NCAA active career leader and Indiana's all-time leader with 48 passes defended and 44 pass breakups in 38 games. A second team All-Big Ten selection in 2016, the Atlanta native topped the Big Ten in pass breakups (17, T-2nd nationally) and passes defended (20, 3rd nationally).
He shared for the team lead with three interceptions (68 yards), including a 34-yard pick-6 at Florida International, and made 33 tackles, 29 solo, and one tackle for loss. Fant tallied four games with multiple PBUs.
The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is one of the most coveted awards in college football. It is awarded to the best defensive back in college football based on performance on the field, athletic ability and character. The award was established in 1986 and is named after history's greatest all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled not only as a running back, passer, and kicker on the offensive side of the ball; but also stood out as a defensive back. In addition to his legendary performance on the football field, Thorpe played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.
The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Watch List is chosen by a screening committee who compiles 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 selected from three finalists and will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, on ESPN.
The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Banquet will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, in Oklahoma.
The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses college football's most prestigious awards. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 23 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.
The members of the NCFAA are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a 12-day period this month. Seventeen of the association's 23 awards select a preseason watch list and the NCFAA has spearheaded a coordinated effort to promote each award's preseason candidates.
Indiana will host Ohio State to open the 2017 season on Thursday, Aug. 31, at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN. The teams will kick off a campaign facing each other for the fifth time (1938, 1952-54) and for the first time in Bloomington. IU last started the year against a Big Ten foe in 1982, a 30-0 whitewashing of Northwestern on Sept. 11.