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Michigan State safety Xavier Henderson named to Jim Thorpe Award preseason watchlist

'The Captain' leads the Spartan defense into 2022

Michigan State senior safety Xavier Henderson has been named to the 2022 Jim Thorpe Award preseason watchlist. Established in 1986, the Jim Thorpe Award is given annually to college football's top defensive back.

Henderson is one of six Big Ten players included on the Jim Thorpe watchlist, joining Penn State's Ji'Ayer Brown and Joey Porter, Ohio State's Denzel Burke and Ronnie Hickman, and Iowa's Riley Moss.

Last season, Cincinnati cornerback Coby Bryant was the recipient of the Jim Thorpe Award.

The only player to serve as a captain in every game last season, Henderson led Michigan State with 96 tackles in 2021. The senior added an interception, a forced fumble and three pass deflections.

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Michigan State kicks off its season on Friday, Sept. 2 against Western Michigan.