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Joey Porter Jr., Ji’Ayar Brown Named to Jim Thorpe Watch List

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Joey Porter Jr.

On Monday, Penn State defensive backs Joey Porter Jr. and Ji’Ayar Brown were named to the preseason watch list for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award.

The Thorpe Award is given annually to the best defensive back in college football.

Brown and Porter both decided to forego the 2022 NFL Draft and return to Penn State this season. 

Porter, the son of former All-Pro linebacker Joey Porter Sr. is projected by some to be a first-round pick in next April’s draft.

Last season, he had 51 tackles, four pass breakups, a fumble recovery and an interception, earning third-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches.

Brown, a junior college transfer from Lackawanna Community College, had a breakout season in 2021 with 73 tackles, six interceptions—tied for most in the nation— two fumble recoveries and a defensive touchdown. Brown’s efforts earned him third-team All-Big Ten honors in the coaches poll.

If Porter or Brown were to win the Thorpe award, it would be the first time a Penn State player has won .

Penn State now has nine players named to preseason award watch lists. Brown and Porter join quarterback Sean Clifford (Maxwell and Davey O’Brien), running back Keyvone Lee (Doak Walker), receivers Mitchell Tinsley and Parker Washington (Fred Biletnikoff), tight ends Theo Johnson and Brandon Strange (John Mackey) and center Juice Scruggs (Dave Rimington). 

Twitter: @bwalkerdadon

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