IOWA CITY, Iowa – – University of Iowa junior defensive back Josh Jackson is one of three finalists for the 2017 Jim Thorpe Award, presented annually to the best defensive back in the nation. The announcement was made Monday by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
The winner of the 2017 Thorpe Award will be announced in Atlanta on Thursday, Dec. 7, as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN. Joining Jackson as finalists are Minkah Fitzpatrick of Alabama and Deshon Elliott of Texas.
Jackson (6-foot-1, 192-pounds), a native of Corinth, Texas (Lake Dallas), leads the nation with seven interceptions and 24 passes defended. He is second nationally in interception return touchdowns (two), and third in pass break-ups (17) and interception return yards (163). Jackson’s seven interceptions rank fourth best for a single season at Iowa, just one from tying Iowa’s single-season record (Desmond King, 2015; Lou King, 1981; Nile Kinnick, 1939).
Jackson tied Iowa’s school record with two interception returns for touchdowns (B.J. Lowery, 2013), at Wisconsin, covering 43 and 52 yards. The previous week, Jackson tied Iowa’s school record with three interceptions in Iowa’s 55-24 win over No. 3 Ohio State. Jackson also had a forced fumble at Wisconsin, and a blocked field goal in a win over North Texas. He has started all 11 games this season and has recorded 43 tackles.
Jackson was named the Walter Camp, Bednarik Award, and College Sports Madness national defensive Player of the Week for his play against Ohio State. He was named Big Ten Conference defensive Player of the Week in consecutive weeks following games against Ohio State and Wisconsin.
Jackson is the second Hawkeye in the past three seasons to be named a Thorpe Award finalist. Former Hawkeye Desmond King earned the award in 2015 and was a semifinalist a year ago.
The Hawkeyes (6-5, 3-5) travel to Nebraska on Friday (3 p.m., FS1) to close the regular season. Iowa is bowl eligible for the 16th time in the last 17 seasons.