July 12, 2013
OKLAHOMA CITY - Senior cornerback Phillip Gaines was named to the 2013 Jim Thorpe Award watch list on Friday, which includes the top defensive backs in college football.
The 2012 season was a breakout campaign for Gaines, as he returned to his role as the Owls' leader in the defensive backfield after missing most of 2011 with an injury. He was a consensus All-Conference USA selection and a member of Dave Campbell's Texas Football's postseason All-Texas College team after he led C-USA and was second nationally with 18 pass breakups.
That total does not include the most important breakup of the year, his stripping of a potential game-tying two-point conversion attempt by Tulane with less than a minute in the two-point win. His pass breakups saved 38 points from scoring (6 TD passes plus the two-point attempt).
The Converse, Texas native led the conference and was tied for eighth nationally with 1.50 passes defended per game. Gaines' PBU total is seven more than his career total coming into the season and are already the most in school history. They also are tied for the 10th most in NCAA history since the statistic was first tracked in 2003.
Gaines has also been named a preseason all-conference selection by Athlon Sports heading into the 2013 campaign. He was named the Owls' 2012 team MVP in April, receiving the George Martin Award.
The Jim Thorpe 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.
The Jim Thorpe Award watch list is chosen by a screening committee who compile a list of 30-50 players. The list is not final, and players who have outstanding seasons are added as the season progresses. The Thorpe Award Winner is selected from three finalists and will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, December 12, 2013 on ESPN.
The Jim Thorpe Award Banquet will be held on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 in Oklahoma City.
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