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Ohio State's Denzel Burke, Ronnie Hickman On Thorpe Award Watch List

Antoine Winfield and Malcolm Jenkins are the only players in school history to win the award.

Ohio State sophomore cornerback Denzel Burke and redshirt junior safety Ronnie Hickman were named on Monday morning to the preseason watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is presented annually to college football’s best defensive back.

A former four-star prospect from Scottsdale, Ariz., Burke was named a freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America last season after he recorded 36 tackles, a team-leading 13 pass break ups and one pick-six.

Meanwhile, Hickman, a former four-star prospect from South Orange, N.J., had a team-leading 100 tackles – including 54 solo stops – and two interceptions to earn second-team All-Big Ten honors from the conference's coaches.

Burke and Hickman are looking to become just the third Buckeye to win the Thorpe Award, which is named after one of the greatest all-around players in college football history, joining safety Antoine Winfield in 1998 and cornerback Malcolm Jenkins in 2008.

Thorpe notably played running back, defensive back, kicker and punter and was a two-time All-American at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School and later became a professional baseball player and Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon and pentathlon.

Fifteen semifinalists for this year's award will be announced in October, with three finalists named in late November. The winner will then be revealed as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards show on Dec. 8.

Interestingly, last year's winner – Cincinnati's Coby Bryant – was coached by new Ohio State safeties coach Perry Eliano, who will now look to make it back-to-back years.


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