Penn State Football: Lucas Named to Jim Thorpe Award Watch List
Penn State junior cornerback Jordan Lucas is looking to improve on his breakout season last year and plenty of people are expecting him to do so as Lucas was named to his second watch list of 2014 on Friday.
After being named to the Bednarik Award watch list earlier in the week, Lucas was also named to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list which honors the nation's top defensive back. The Bednarik Award is given to the nation's top defensive player.
Penn State has a strong tradition of producing Thorpe Award candidates, as former Nittany Lions David Macklin (1999), James Boyd (2000), and Alan Zemaitis (2005) are past semifinalists.
Lucas becomes the first Nittany Lion since Justin King in 2007 to earn selection to the Thorpe Award Preseason Watch List. After earning honorable mention All-Big Ten after a breakout 2013 campaign he will be a big part of the Nittany Lions' successes or failures on the defensive side of the ball.
Lucas started all 12 games and tied for third in the Big Ten with 16 passes defended (1.33 avg.). Lucas tied for the team lead with three interceptions, all of which came in conference play, and led the Nittany Lions with 13 pass breakups.
The New York City product was third on the team with 64 tackles, leading the squad with 45 solo stops. He also recorded 4.5 tackles for loss (minus-20), one sack and forced two fumbles. Lucas grabbed his first career interception in the first quarter against No. 18 Michigan, returning it inside the Michigan 15-yard line to set up the Nittany Lions' first touchdown in the four-overtime victory. He led the team with a career-high 11 stops (seven solo) at No. 4 Ohio State Lucas also made nine stops at Indiana and eight stops vs. Nebraska.
The Jim Thorpe Award watch list is chosen by a screening committee who compile 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, December 11, 2014 on ESPN.
The award banquet will be held on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 in Oklahoma City, OK.
The Nittany Lions now have five players on five different preseason watch lists: Kyle Carter (Mackey Award - Nation's Top Tight End), Christian Hackenberg (Maxwell Award - College Football MVP), Jesse James (Mackey Award - Nation's Top Tight End), Jordan Lucas (Bednarik - Defensive Player of the Year, Thorpe - Nation's Top Defensive Back) and Donovan Smith (Outland Trophy - Nation's Top Interior Lineman).