Six Mountain West Football Players Named To Jim Thorpe Award Watch List

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Mountain West had six football players named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List on Monday, the most of any FBS conference. The Jim Thorpe Award is given annually to the nation’s top defensive back.

Air Force’s Weston Steelhammer, Boise State’s Donte Deayon and Darian Thompson, Colorado State’s Trent Matthews and San Diego State’s Damontae Kazee and J.J. Whittaker comprise the MW contingent.

Entering his junior season, Steelhammer is coming off a 2014 campaign that saw him finish fourth in the MW and 13th nationally with six interceptions. Deayon picked off six passes a year ago, good for second in the Conference and seventh in the FBS. He returned two for touchdowns. Thompson was tied for the MW lead (fourth-best in the FBS) with seven interceptions. The senior enters the 2015 season tied for the second-highest career total in MW history at 14 with former Fresno State safety Derron Smith.

Matthews led Colorado State with three interceptions a year ago, in addition to blocking two field goals, the seventh-best total nationally. Kazee was sixth on the Aztecs with 63 tackles in 2014. He intercepted one pass and recovered one fumble. Whittaker’s 63 tackles equaled the third-best mark for SDSU last year, while his two interceptions were the second-highest total on the club.