OKLAHOMA CITY (July 11, 2016) – University of Connecticut junior cornerback Jamar Summers (Orange, N.J.) has been named to the Watch List for the 2016 Jim Thorpe Award, which is presented to the best defensive back in college football by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
The award was established in 1986 and is named after one of history’s greatest all-around athlete Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled not only 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 Thorpe Award Winner is selected from three finalists and will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards on December 8, 2016 on ESPN.
Summers has now been named to three preseason watch lists with the Thorpe and a pair of awards to the top defensive player in the country -- the Bednarik Award, given annually by the Maxwell Football Club (Philadelphia), and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.
In addition to Summers, three other Huskies have been named to watch lists this preseason – redshirt senior kicker Bobby Puyol (North Palm Beach, Fla.) for the Lou Groza Award, redshirt senior punter Justin Wain (Wilmington, N.C.) for the Ray Guy Award and redshirt sophomore center Ryan Crozier (Plantation, Fla.) for the Rimington Trophy.
Summers enjoyed an outstanding season as a sophomore in 2015 as he earned First Team All-American Athletic Conference honors and was also named First Team All-New England by the NE Football Writers’ Association.
Summers was third nationally in interceptions per game last season and was first in the American. He started 12 of 13 games and enters his junior year with 25 career games with 17 starts.
Summers recorded critical interceptions in UConn’s last three wins of the season in 2015 as the Huskies became bowl eligible for the first time since 2010. Against East Carolina on Oct. 30, he had two with the first coming in the closing seconds of the first half with ECU driving. He returned an interception 67-yards for a touchdown in the win vs. Tulane (Nov. 7) – UConn’s only score in a 7-3 win. Finally, in the win over nationally-ranked Houston (Nov. 21), Summers intercepted the ball in the final minute of the game at the UConn 29-yard line as the Cougars were driving for a potential game-winning score.
Summers played in all 12 games as a true freshman in 2014, starting the final five at cornerback.
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