Despite the struggles faced by Penn State in the last handful of weeks, senior safety Jaquan Brisker’s stellar senior season continues to roll on. And the accolades continue to come with it.
After being named an AP midseason All-American last week, Brisker has been named a semifinalist for the 2021 Jim Thorpe Award — the honor awarded to the best defensive back in college football based on on-field performance, athletic ability and character.
— Paycom Jim Thorpe Award (@jimthorpeaward) October 25, 2021
With an eight tackle (seven solo) performance, including a pass defended and fumble recovery, against Illinois on Saturday, Brisker’s senior season has continued to see him produce among the best defensive backs in the nation.
Brisker has recorded 33 tackles (22 solo) and a fumble recovery along with four passes defended and two interceptions in seven games this season. However, his impact goes far deeper than just his statistics.
He’s a ball-hawking force in the Nittany Lions’ secondary, and quarterbacks are learning to not target receivers in his areas of coverage.
Along with Brisker, 11 other college defensive backs were named semifinalists. Cincinnati’s Coby Bryant, Georgia’s Lewis Cline, South Carolina’s Jaylan Foster, Cincinnati’s Ahmad Gardner, Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton, Iowa’s Matt Hankins, Pitt’s Brandon Hill, Oregon’s Verone McKinley III, East Carolina’s Ja’Quan McMillian, Iowa’s Riley Moss and Baylor’s Jalen Pitre were all named to the list.
While the semifinalist list isn’t set in stone, with players being able to play their way into consideration before the finalists are announced, this list appears to be the contenders.
The Jim Thorpe Award Selection Committee will meet the Monday before Thanksgiving to narrow down three finalists, and the winner will be announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 9.