Of Course, Tyrann Mathieu is a favorite on just about every preseason defensive watch list and an LSU player has won the award two seasons in a row (Claiborne 2011 & Peterson 2010), but there are also others worthy of contention this season. NC State cornerback David Amerson is a ball hawk with 13 interceptions including four passes broken up in 2011 and Florida safety Matt Elam is a hard hitter that led the Gators in 2011 for tackles for loss with 11.
There are 35 total players listed. The SEC has the most with five and then the Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, C-USA and MAC have four each. The Big East and ACC have three each followed by two for the Sun Belt as well as one for the Mountain West and WAC.
You can find more information about the Jim Thorpe Award at JimThorpeAssoc.org.
2012 Jim Thorpe Award Preseason Watch List:
Johnny Adams, Michigan State CB, Sr.
Jahleel Addae, Central Michigan S, Jr.
Ricardo Allen, Purdue CB, Jr.
David Amerson, North Carolina State CB, Jr.
Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State CB, Sr.
C.J. Barnett, Ohio State S, Jr.
John Boyett, Oregon S, Sr.
Chad Boyd, Louisiana Tech, S, Sr.
Brodrick Brown, Oklahoma State CB, Sr.
Travis Carrie, Ohio University CB, Sr.
Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International S, Sr.
Matt Elam, Florida S, Jr.
D.J. Hayden, Houston CB, Sr.
Jarred Holley, Pittsburgh S, Sr.
Kemal Ishmael, Central Florida S, Sr.
Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma S, Jr.
Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State S, Jr.
Robert Lester, Alabama S, Sr.
Isaiah Lewis, Michigan State S, Jr.
Nigel Malone, Kansas State CB , Sr.
Tyrann Mathieu, Louisiana State S, Jr.
Dexter McCoil, Tulsa S, Sr.
T.J. McDonald, Southern California S, Sr.
Leon McFadden, San Diego State CB, Sr.
Dayonne Nunley, Miami (OH) CB, Jr.
Jordan Poyer, Oregon State CB, Sr.
Eric Reid, Louisiana State S, Jr.
Xavier Rhodes, Florida State CB, Jr.
Nickell Robey, Southern California CB, Jr.
Logan Ryan, Rutgers CB, Jr.
Johnnie Simon, Western Michigan S, Jr.
Hakeem Smith, Louisville S, Jr.
Brynden Trawick, Troy S, Sr.
Kenny Vaccaro, Texas S, Sr.
Deron Wilson, Southern Mississippi CB, Jr.