College Football's Best In Town For Jim Thorpe Awards

Tuesday, February 7th 2012, 10:43 pm
By: News 9

Every year, awards ceremonies around the country attract some of the most prominent players and coaches in the college football circles to hand out the most prestigious awards.

But to find some of the biggest names in college football, Oklahomans need look no further than their own backyard.

Each year, the Jim Thorpe Association hands out the Thorpe Award to NCAA football's top defensive back, but the ripple effect means many more than just the award winner get involved.

On Tuesday, OKC and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum welcomed figures such as LSU coach Les Miles, Barry Switzer, former OU and NFL defensive back Rickey Dixon and Arizona Cardinals defensive back Patrick Peterson.

The honoree of the night, however, was LSU defensive back Morris Claiborne, who received the Thorpe Award for his outstanding play with the Tigers this season.

Claiborne finished the year with six interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, and is projected to be a top five pick in the upcoming 2012 NFL draft.

He recorded 46 tackles, helping LSU's to the nation's second-ranked defense in the country this past season and was also dangerous in the return game. Claiborne beat out David Amerson from North Carolina State and Mark Barron, Sr. of Alabama for the award.

Patrick Peterson played multiple roles at the awards ceremony on Monday night. He was present as the reigning Thorpe Award winner from the 2010 season as well as a friend and former teammate of Claiborne's.

Claiborne and Peterson lined up opposite of each other on the 2010-11 LSU Tigers, creating one of the most dynamic defensive back duos in the game.

The LSU pair became the second pair of players from the same school to win the Thorpe Award in back-to-back years. The first time was with the University of Texas' Michael Huff and Aaron Ross in 2005-06.

Dean Blevins and the News 9 crew were on hand to chat with everyone at the ceremony.

With plenty of SEC representation in the house, there was no shortage of opinions and comments on the hot topic of the all-SEC national championship game in January.

As usual, Switzer spent some time with Dean offering his expert analysis on all things OU and college football-related.

Check out the video box above for the full interviews with Switzer, Claiborne, Peterson and Ricky Dixon.

And be sure to check in with the Oklahoma Ford Sports Blitz statewide on Sunday night to see the full exclusive interview with LSU coach Les Miles.