Davis Named To Thorpe Award Semifinalist List

Junior cornerback Vontae Davis is a Thorpe Award semifinalist for the second season in a row.
Junior cornerback Vontae Davis is a Thorpe Award semifinalist for the second season in a row.

Nov. 4, 2008

University of Illinois junior cornerback Vontae Davis was named to the Thorpe Award Semifinal List for the second straight year, as announced by award officials this afternoon. Davis is one of 13 honored and one of just three from the Big Ten Conference. The award, named after Oklahoma born Native American sports legend Jim Thorpe, is presented annually to the defensive back who best exhibits performance on the field, athletic ability and character.

Davis is in his third year as a starter in the Illinois secondary and currently has posted 56 tackles, 5.5 for loss. He has one interception and seven passes broken up. He is tied for first in the Big Ten in fumbles forced (0.33/game), tied for seventh in passes defended and is 17th in the Big Ten in tackles per game with 6.4. Davis is a 2008 Playboy All-American and a unanimous preseason All-America selection.

The semifinalist list will be narrowed to three finalists on Monday, Nov. 24, and the winner will be announced on the ESPNU College Football Awards Show, broadcast nationally on Thursday, Dec. 11. Formal presentation will be at a banquet in Oklahoma City, Monday, Feb. 11, 2009.

The 2008 Jim Thorpe Award semifinalists:

Asher Allen, Jr., Georgia
Eric Berry, So., Tennessee
Emanuel Cook, Jr., So. Carolina
Vontae Davis, JR., ILLINOIS
Trimane Goddard, Sr., N. Carolina
Malcolm Jenkins, Sr., Ohio State
Trevard Lindley, Jr., Kentucky
Taylor Mays, Jr., USC
Mike Mickens, Sr., Cincinnati
D. J. Moore, Jr., Vanderbilt
William Moore, Sr., Missouri
Alphonso Smith, Sr., Wake Forest
Otis Wiley, Sr., Michigan State

Jim Thorpe is generally considered history's greatest all-around athlete, a man who excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on offense, but also an awesome defensive back. Recognized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame simply as "The Legend", Thorpe also played professional baseball and won gold medals in the 1912 Olympics decathlon and pentathlon.