LOGAN, Utah – Utah State senior safety Brian Suite has been named to the 2014 Jim Thorpe Award Watch List, it was announced Friday by the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA).
The Jim Thorpe Award, which is presented annually to the best defensive back in college football, is one of the most coveted awards in college football. The award was established in 1986 and is named after history’s greatest all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on the offensive side of the ball, but also stood out as a defensive back. In addition to his legendary performance on the football field, Thorpe played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.
Suite, who is the only defensive player from the state of Utah recognized, is also one of five Mountain West defenders named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List along with Boise State’s Donte Deayon and Jeremy Ioane, Fresno State’s Derron Smith and San Diego State’s J.J. Whittaker.
In all, Suite is one of 39 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) players named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List.
Entering his senior season, Suite is also a first-team preseason all-Mountain West selection by Phil Steele and a second-team preseason all-Mountain West selection by Athlon Sports.
Suite, a 6-3, 205-pounder from Honolulu, Hawaii (Punahou HS) earned honorable mention all-Mountain West honors as a junior as he ranked fourth on the team with 77 total tackles (37-solo, 40-assist) and had six or more tackles in eight games. He finished the season ranking first on the team, fifth in the Mountain West and 41st in the nation with five total interceptions (0.36 ipg), tied for first on the team in fumbles recovered with two and tied for fourth on the team with six pass breakups.
Suite was also named to both the SI.com and CBS Sports.com All-Bowl Team following Utah State’s 21-14 win against No. 24 Northern Illinois in the 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl as he tied his season-high with 11 tackles, to go along with a fumble recovery and interception.
The Jim Thorpe Award winner is selected from three finalists and will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 on ESPN. The Jim Thorpe Award Banquet will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Utah State returns 14 starters (O-6, D-5, S-3) as part of 38 letterwinners (O-17, D-18, S-3) from last year’s 9-5 team that won the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference, played in the inaugural Mountain West Championship game, and defeated No. 24 Northern Illinois, 21-14, in the 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
Utah State concluded the 2013 season by winning six of its final seven games to tie the 1960 and 1961 teams for the second-most wins in school history. With its win against Northern Illinois, Utah State posted back-to-back bowl wins for the first time in school history as it played in its third-straight bowl game, also a first at USU. Utah State also set the school record for conference wins as it posted a 7-1 league mark in its first season in the Mountain West.
Utah State ended the year ranking tied for 37th nationally in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ polls with two votes each, marking the second time in as many years that USU has concluded the season ranked among the top teams in the nation as the 2012 team was ranked 16th in the final AP poll, 17th in the final coaches’ poll and 22nd in the final Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings.
Utah State will open the 2014 season on Sunday, Aug. 31 at Tennessee and play its first home game the following weekend against Idaho State on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m.
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