Rashad Johnson on Thorpe Watch List

(UA)Oklahoma City — The 2008 Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list was announced Tuesday and includes 40 of the nation’s top defensive backs. Alabama senior safety Rashad Johnson was recognized as one of the 40 leading candidates for this year’s trophy.

Johnson started all 13 games last season and led the Crimson Tide with 94 total tackles (57 solo). He was a first team All-SEC selection and led the league with six interceptions. Johnson, a 2007 team captain, also recorded 5.5 tackles for loss, eight pass break-ups, one forced fumble, one sack and two quarterback hurries.

The Thorpe Award is one of college football’s most sought after and prestigious awards. It is named after one of the greatest all-around athletes, a man who excelled as a running back, passer, kicker and as a defensive back. The Thorpe Award is presented annually to the top defensive back in college football.

Alabama has produced one Jim Thorpe Award winner as Antonio Langham was honored in 1993.

Johnson is one of eight SEC players on the watch list. Asher Allen (Georgia), Eric Berry (Tennessee), Emanuel Cook (South Carolina), Trevard Lindley (Kentucky), DJ Moore (Vanderbilt), Captain Munnerlyn (South Carolina) and Derek Pegues (Mississippi State) were the other seven conference representatives.

A committee meets the first Monday in November to narrow the field to 10 or 12 semifinalists. The three finalists, released the Monday before Thanksgiving, are invited to the ESPN College Football Awards Show in Orlando and the winner is announced during the show. The 2008 winner will be presented with the award in Oklahoma City, Okla. on the first Tuesday in February following the college football national signing date.