Chapel Hill, N.C. --- University of North Carolina safety Trimane Goddard has been named a semifinalist for the 2008 Jim Thorpe Award, which is given annually to the nation's top defensive back. Goddard ranks fourth in the nation with five interceptions, including one returned for 51 yards for a touchdown against Boston College. Goddard also has 34 tackles, 1.5 tackles for losses, three pass breakups and one fumble recovery.
Goddard has been involved in two game-changing plays this season. He picked off a pass on the final play of the game in the end zone at Miami to secure a 28-24 victory and recovered a fumble on Notre Dame's final play in a 29-24 win over the Irish.
The award, named after Oklahoma born Native American sports legend Jim Thorpe, is presented annually to the defensive back who best exhibits performance on the field, athletic ability and character. The semifinalist list will be narrowed to three finalists on Monday, November 24, and the winner will be announced on the ESPNU College Football Awards Show, broadcast nationally on Thursday, December 11. Formal presentation will be at a banquet in Oklahoma City, Monday, February 11, 2009.
The 2008 Jim Thorpe Award Semifinalists:
Asher Allen, Jr., Georgia
Eric Berry, So., Tennessee
Emanuel Cook, Jr., So. Carolina
Vontae Davis, Jr., Illinois
Trimane Goddard, Sr., N. Carolina
Malcolm Jenkins, Sr., Ohio State
Trevard Lindley, Jr., Kentucky
Taylor Mays, Jr., USC
Mike Mickens, Sr., Cincinnati
D. J. Moore, Jr., Vanderbilt
William Moore, Sr., Missouri
Alphonso Smith, Sr., Wake Forest
Otis Wiley, Sr., Michigan State
Wiley and Goddard were added to the award's preseason 'watch list' midway through the season.
The first Jim Thorpe Award was presented in 1986 to Thomas Everett, Baylor, and last year's trophy went to Antoine Cason, Arizona.
Jim Thorpe is generally considered history's greatest all-around athlete, a man who excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on offense, but also an awesome defensive back.
Recognized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame simply as "The Legend", Thorpe also played professional baseball and won gold medals in the 1912 Olympics decathlon and pentathlon.