LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech senior defensive back Jah'Shawn Johnson was named Monday to the preseason watch list for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, which is presented annually to the nation's top defensive back.
This is the first career preseason watch list for Johnson, who was one of three Red Raiders named to the All-Big 12 preseason team just a few weeks ago. He is one of three Big 12 defensive backs among the 37-player watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award.
Johnson garnered All-Big 12 second team honors following the 2017 season after he finished second on the team with a career-high 97 tackles. He added a forced fumble and five pass breakups for a Tech defense that ended the year sixth nationally in takeaways.
The Ennis, Texas product enters his final campaign in scarlet and black with 264 career tackles, 65 shy of passing Charles Rowe (1986-89) for 10th all-time in program history. Johnson has also notched five career fumble recoveries, two shy of Zach Thomas' career mark from 1992-95.
The Jim Thorpe Award was created in 1986 to honor one of the greatest all-around athletes in history, Jim Thorpe. As a native Oklahoman, 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. Thorpe also played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.
The Jim Thorpe Award is based on performance on the field, athletic ability and character. As such, it is considered one of the most coveted awards in college football. The preseason watch list was selected by a screening committee who compiled a list of the nation's top 30-50 players.
The winner of the Jim Thorpe Award will be announced Dec. 6 during the Hope Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN. The award will honor the winner again on Feb. 5, 2019, with a commemorative banquet in Oklahoma City.
Johnson and the Red Raiders are approximately 40 days away from opening the 2018 season on Sept. 1 against Ole Miss in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff. Kickoff from NRG Stadium in Houston is slated for 11 a.m. CT with coverage provided nationally on ESPN and the Texas Tech Sports Network.