MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State junior defensive back D.J. Reed was one of 45 players nationally to be named to the watch list for the 2017 Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame announced Friday.
The honor is Reed’s third watch list recognition this week following his inclusion on the Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy lists, both honoring the best defensive player in college football. He is one of only two Big 12 players to land on all three lists, joining West Virginia’s Dravon Askew-Henry.
This year marks the fifth time since 2011 a Wildcat is a candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award. Dante Barnett was a preseason candidate in 2015 before Nigel Malone (2011 and 2012) and Ty Zimmerman (2013) were semifinalists. Former Wildcat defensive back Terence Newman, who is entering his 15th NFL season in 2017, won the award in 2002.
A product of Bakersfield, California, Reed jumped onto the national scene last year after transferring from Cerritos College as he led the Big 12 and tied for fifth nationally with 19 passes defended, which included three interceptions. Reed, who tied for second on the team with 75 tackles, picked up 2016 Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year accolades from the league’s coaches in addition to being named a First Team All-Big 12 performer.
Reed tallied a pass breakup or interception in 10 of his 13 games last year – including a season-high four deflections at Baylor and another three the next week against Kansas – and returned one of his interceptions 35 yards for a touchdown against Texas Tech en route to Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors.
Reed, along with other team captains Jesse Ertz, Dalton Risner, Trent Tanking and Dayton Valentine in addition to head coach Bill Snyder, will represent K-State at 2017 Big 12 Football Media Days next Tuesday at The Star in Frisco, Texas. Fans can follow media day coverage on K-State Football’s official Twitter handle, @KStateFB, and the Big 12 website, www.big12sports.com. The two-day event will also be televised live from 9 a.m., to 1 p.m., on FS2 and various FOX Sports Regional Networks, including FOX Sports Midwest and FOX Sports Kansas City.
The Wildcats begin their seven-game home schedule and 2017 season slate on Saturday, September 2, against Central Arkansas, a game that serves as the ninth-annual K-State Family Reunion. As K-State draws nearer to running its consecutive sellout streak to 40 games, tickets can be purchased through the K-State Athletics Ticket office online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets, by phone at 1-800-221-CATS or at the main ticket office inside Bramlage Coliseum.
Wildcats on National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) Watch Lists
Jesse Ertz (QB) – Maxwell Award
Will Geary (DT) – Bronko Nagurski Trophy; Outland Trophy
Reid Najvar (OL) – Rimington Trophy
D.J. Reed (DB) – Bednarik Award; Bronko Nagurski Trophy; Jim Thorpe Award
Dalton Risner (OL) – Outland Trophy
Dayton Valentine (TE) – Mackey Award
Reggie Walker (DE) – Bronko Nagurski Trophy