Daily Blog • February 9, 2011

This past year I was very pleased to be a part of one of the best awards in college football, the Jim Thorpe Award.

The Jim Thorpe Award is one of college football’s most sought after and prestigious awards.  It is named after history’s greatest all-around athlete, a man who excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on offense, but also was an awesome defensive back.  Recognized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame simply as “The Legend”, Thorpe also played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.

The candidates for the award are selected by a “screening committee” of Jim Thorpe Association members who follow several players throughout the season, watching games and researching information sources to grade Thorpe Award candidates on the basis of performance on the field, athletic ability and most importantly their character. The committee then narrows the field three finalists and the names of these finalists are submitted to a national panel of about 50 sports writers, sportscasters, coaches and former players who vote to determine the winner.

Each week, I overlooked the candidates issued by the school, the conference and distinguished committee members. After including my own personal input, the weekly winner was announced every Thursday at jimthorpeassoc.org and PhilSteele.com.

On Monday, I was able to attend the Jim Thorpe banquet in Oklahoma City at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. The banquet honored this year’s defensive back of the year Patrick Peterson of LSU who had 42 tackles, four interceptions and six passes broken up.  An extremely dangerous punt returner, he returned 26 punts for a total of 418 yards and two touchdowns.  He is projected as a first round draft pick in the NFL and was also the recipient of the Bednarik Award, given to the nation’s top defender.  Peterson was truly one of the top cornerbacks and return men in college football.

The banquet is held each year to honor the recipient, with former award winners returning to present the trophy.  Former winners in attendance were Kansas City Chiefs’ safety, Eric Berry and San Diego Chargers’ cornerback Antoine Cason.

The Thorpe Award was not the only award given at the banquet as the top high school football players and coaches were also honored as well as many key figures in the state of Oklahoma athletics.

Also significant at the ceremony was the presentation of a $10,000 Rolex watch to Patrick Peterson that was personally donated by B.C. Clark Jewelers and their Executive Vice President Mitchell Clark. If you’re ever in the Oklahoma City area make sure you are checking out B.C. Clark Jewelers, the Jim Thorpe Museum and the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.

I want to personally thank Jim Thorpe Executive Vice President Eddie Griffin and the entire Jim Thorpe Association committee members for their sincere accommodations for the event and I cannot wait to continue my relationship with them in the future.

I will post pictures of the event later on my Jim Thorpe page and I will be back on Friday with my projection of this year’s preseason AP Top 10!