Ducks Lead With 3 Nominations for Thorpe

OKLAHOMA CITY – Three University of Oregon defensive backs are among the list of 40 candidates named to the pre-season watch list for the 2008 Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back in the country, according to an announcement released Monday by the Jim Thorpe Association.

Oregon senior rover Patrick Chung, as well as junior cornerbacks Jairus Byrd and Walter Thurmond, were among seven nominees listed representing schools in the Pacific-10 Conference, with no other school in the country boasting of more than two potential honorees.

Chung, a first-team all-conference and second-team All-America choice a year ago, led the Ducks in tackles in 2007 with 117 stops in addition to blocking a pair of punts.

Byrd led the Pac-10 in interceptions a year ago (seven) and tied for ninth in the country, while reigning in a tie for second nationally among active Division I Bowl Subdivision standouts in career interceptions (12).

Thurmond, the school's second-leading tackler last season, is credited with breaking up more passes in his first two seasons (27) than any other Oregon player in 15 years, in addition to ranking second on the team in interceptions (5).

Criteria for the award includes on-the-field performance, athletic ability and character. The field of candidates will be narrowed to approximately 10 semifinalists in early November.

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