The Jim Thorpe Award is given annually to college football’s top defensive back. The award is named after the incomparable Jim Thorpe, one of the greatest athletes of all-time, and was first awarded back in 1986.
Surprisingly, no Virginia Tech player has ever won the award, despite the school’s reputation at producing outstanding defensive backs and placing them in the NFL.
On Monday, the Jim Thorpe Award released its watch list and two Virginia Tech Hokies made the list.
Caleb Farley, a 6-foot-2 junior from Hickory, N.C., and Jermaine Waller, a 6-foot-1 junior from Washington, D.C., are arguably college football’s top pair of cornerbacks entering 2020.
Farley had an outstanding 2019 campaign. He started 11 games, led the ACC in passes defended and finished No. 2 in interceptions. Farley took a major step forward after some struggles as a freshman in 2018.
Waller played in all 13 games in 2019, making 10 starts. It was apparent early in the season that Waller was one of the ACC’s better corners, but unfortunately got overshadowed by Farley.
Waller finished 2019 with 13 passes defended and three interceptions.
Farley was named a first-team All-ACC pick after the season, while Waller received honorable mention.
Throughout the offseason, Pro Football Focus gave the pair high grades in a number of categories, specifically Farley.
Virginia Tech was one of six schools with at least two players on the watch list, including defending national champion LSU.
Could 2020 be the year a Virginia Tech player finally wins the Jim Thorpe Award?