The world of Iowa sports did get some good news Monday. It was announced earlier this afternoon that junior cornerback Josh Jackson is one of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s most outstanding defensive back at the end of the season.
If you’re at all familiar with the Thorpe Award, it’s likely because former Hawkeye and current LA Charger Desmond King won the hardware back in 2015.
So, how does Jackson stack up against his competition?
Jackson leads the trio with 7 interceptions. DeShon Elliott has 6 and Minkah Fitzpatrick has just 1. Jackson also far and away leads the group with 17 deflected passes. Fitzpatrick has 6 and Elliott has 5.
Jackson pales in tackles for loss compared to the other two, but that can be attributed to Iowa’s conservative defensive scheme. King had just one TFL the year he won it, so I don’t think that will be held against Jackson. Jackson also has 2 interceptions returned for touchdowns, as does Elliott. Fitzpatrick doesn’t have any.
All three are relatively even in total tackles; Elliott leads the pack with 57, while Fitzpatrick has 44 and Jackson has 43. Again, I don’t think that will be held against him.
None of the trio has really done much as a kick or punt returner for their team, either, so those stats won’t get in the head of whoever votes for this thing.
And besides, did anyone else do this?
I thought not.
On paper, Jackson is the clear choice. Unfortunately, as we all know when it comes to postseason awards, it’s a little more nuanced than that. Look no further than Josey Jewell’s exclusion from the Butkus Award as proof.
The winner of the Thorpe Award will be announced on Dec. 7 on ESPN.
Best of luck to Josh Jackson. We hope to see some more Hawkeyes bring home hardware to help make up for what has been a truly disappointing season.