DURHAM, N.C. – Duke redshirt senior cornerback Ross Cockrell was named to the 48-player watch list for the 2013 Jim Thorpe Award, presented annually to college football’s top defensive back by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and the Jim Thorpe Association.
Cockrell, a 6-0, 185-pound native of Waxhaw, N.C., earned All-America honorable mention honors from Sports Illustrated in 2012 after totaling 71 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 quarterback sack, five interceptions, 13 pass breakups and one caused fumble. He was also an All-ACC first team selection by the league’s coaches and the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association while ranking tied for the ACC lead in interceptions per game (0.38), third in passes defended per game (1.38) and 41st in tackles per game (5.46). He was the first Blue Devil to lead the league in interceptions per game since John Talley in 2006.
Cockrell has played and started 36 career games, posting career totals of 187 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 quarterback sack, nine interceptions, 29 pass breakups, 38 total passes defended and one caused fumble. At Duke, he is fourth in passes defended, sixth in pass breakups and tied for 10th in interceptions.
Also on the watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy for the nation’s top defensive player, Cockrell has received Preseason All-ACC first team honors from Phil Steele, Sporting News, Lindy’s, USA Today and Athlon Sports.
Cockrell is one of four ACC players on the Thorpe Award watch list. Among returning defensive backs in the ACC, Cockrell ranks first in interceptions, second in pass breakups, second in total passes defended and fourth in tackles.
The Blue Devils open the 2013 season with a home contest against N.C. Central on Saturday, August 31, at 4 p.m. Duke season tickets are available online at www.GoDuke.com/tickets or by calling the Duke Athletic Ticket Office at 919-681-BLUE.
The Jim Thorpe Award is one of the most coveted awards in college football. The award was established in 1986 and is named after history’s greatest all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on the offensive side of the ball, but also stood out as a defensive back. In addition to his legendary performance on the football field, Thorpe played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.
The Jim Thorpe Award watch list is chosen by a screening committee who compile a list of 30-50 players. The list is not final, and players who have outstanding seasons are added as the season progresses. The Thorpe Award Winner is selected from three finalists and will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, December 12, 2013 on ESPN.
The Jim Thorpe Award Banquet will be held on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 in Oklahoma City, Okla.