Five SEC players were named to the 2019 Jim Thorpe Award Watch List on Monday.
The five players from the conference is the most out of any of the Power 5, and only trails the Sun Belt (6) for the most of anyone in the country by conference. The ACC, Big 10, Big 12 and Pac-12 all have four, as the SEC just edged all of them out. That number of five players is matched by Conference USA and the MAC, as well.
Headlining the group is LSU Tigers star Grant Delpit. Delpit unsurprisingly is receiving quite a lot of preseason accolades lately, as he is expected to be a terror on the field this year. He’s indisputably one of the best defensive players in the nation and the recognition is legit.
The Alabama Crimson Tide picked up a name on the list as well, as Xavier McKinney grabbed a mention on the watch list. McKinney leads a strong group of defensive backs for ‘Bama this year, as if that should be surprising. We shall see how he plays, but big things could come his way.
In addition to Delpit and McKinney, CJ Henderson of the Florida Gators landed on this list as well. Henderson has enjoyed a spirited career at UF thus far and is poised for a big junior year. He is another in a long line of great Florida DBs, and should prove as much this season.
J.R. Reed of the Georgia Bulldogs made the cut as well. Reed has been stellar in his first three seasons with UGA and will hope to go out with a bang in 2019. He’ll lead a Georgia defense that lost some pieces this past year, but as always, should be expected to reload in a big and grandiose way.
Finally, Cameron Dantzler of the Mississippi St. Bulldogs has also made the list. Dantzler is the standout for what’s been a solid defense over the past few seasons in Starkville. With their star defensive linemen now in the NFL, Dantzler assumes the role of the figurehead for this defense and should prove to be a stout one at that.