Indiana continues to see broad representation on college football award preseason watch lists, and in the case of Tiawan Mullen and Micah McFadden, that now includes appearances on multiple lists.
The All-American defenders were named to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list last week, and on Monday Mullen was named to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list, while McFadden was placed on the Butkus Award watch list.
In 2020 Mullen became the first cornerback in program history to earn first-team All-America honors, while McFadden earned second team honors.
The full releases from IU Athletics on the Thorpe and Butkus award watch lists follow.
MULLEN REVEALED ON JIM THORPE AWARD WATCH LIST
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana junior cornerback Tiawan Mullen is a member of the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Preseason Watch List, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame announced on Monday morning. Mullen is also on the Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List.
The Thorpe Award list includes 40 of the nation’s best defensive backs, representing 10 conferences and one independent. The preseason watch list is selected by a screening committee whose members compile a list of up to 50 players. This list is not final, and players who have outstanding seasons may be added as the season progresses.
Mullen became the first cornerback in program history to earn first-team All-America honors (FWAA, Phil Steele) one year ago. He was just the second cornerback (Tim Wilbur, 1980 second-teamer) in school history to achieve All-America status and was the first Hoosier since offensive lineman Dan Feeney (2015, 2016) to claim first-team recognition.
Upon the conclusion of the regular season, Mullen became the program’s first cornerback to card first-team All-Big Ten honors since Tracy Porter (2007). He is the team’s active leader with eight career takeaways (3 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries).
The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native was named IU’s 2020 Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year after he made 38 tackles, 27 solo, with 3.5 sacks (32 yards), 4.5 for loss (33 yards), three interceptions, one forced fumble, four pass breakups, and one quarterback hurry in eight games.
Mullen led all Big Ten defensive backs in sacks (T-12th overall) and TFLs, and shared sixth overall in INTs. He finished tied for first on the team in forced fumbles, second in sacks, third in solos stops, tackles for loss and picks, tied for third in PBUs, and fourth in total stops.
A preseason watch list is compiled by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame based on previous performance and preseason All-America lists. A screening committee consisting of OSHOF members monitor the watch list players and narrow the field to 10 to 15 semifinalists in October. This committee reconvenes on the Monday before Thanksgiving to select three award finalists. The three finalists are submitted to a national panel of over 250 sports writers, sportscasters, former players and coaches who vote to determine the winner of the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award.
The winner will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show. Other recognized National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) awards announced include the Bednarik Award, Maxwell Award, Mackey Award, Rimington Trophy, Lou Groza Award, Ray Guy Award, Bronko Nagurski Award, Outland Trophy, Butkus Award, Lombardi Award, Biletnikoff Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Doak Walker Award and Walter Camp Award.
The official presentation of the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award takes place in Oklahoma City, following ESPN’s live presentation at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show. The current winner and all former winners are invited each year to celebrate. Over 600 supporters attend the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Banquet each year, including many celebrities and dignitaries.
For more information on the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award and past award recipients, please visit the link below.
The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is awarded to the best defensive back in college football based on performance on the field, athletic ability and character. 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. The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is universally accepted as one of the nation’s top collegiate sports honors.
Paycom Software, Inc. (“Paycom”) (NYSE:PAYC), a leading provider of comprehensive, cloud-based human capital management software, and the Jim Thorpe Museum and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame jointly announced in May 2017 an exclusive sponsorship of the Jim Thorpe Award. As a result, the accolade has been named the “Paycom Jim Thorpe Award.”
The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935.
MCFADDEN SECURES SPOT ON BUTKUS AWARD WATCH LIST
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana senior linebacker Micah McFadden secured a spot on the Butkus Award Watch List, it was announced on Monday morning. McFadden is also on the Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List.
The Butkus Award honors the nation’s best linebackers. The list contains 51 linebackers, mirroring the legendary “51” pro jersey associated with the Award’s namesake Dick Butkus, who was recognized by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history.
Semifinalists are expected to be named Nov. 1, finalists Nov. 22, and winners on or before Dec. 7. Appearing on the watch list is not a requirement to win the award.
McFadden collected second-team All-America honors from Phil Steele and third-team accolades from the Associated Press in 2020. A first-team All-Big Ten honoree (coaches, media), McFadden was named IU’s Anthony Thompson Most Valuable Player along with quarterback Michael Penix Jr.
He led the team with 58 tackles, 44 solos, six sacks (31 yards), and 10.5 for loss (39 yards), while he shared second with three quarterback hurries, and finished fourth with two interceptions. McFadden topped the Big Ten in sacks, the first Hoosier to do so since Greg Middleton (2007), tied for second in solo stops, shared third in TFLs, and tied for eighth in INTs.
After the Hoosiers win at No. 16 Wisconsin, he carded Walter Camp National Player of the Week and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week laurels. A team captain, McFadden recorded a game-high nine tackles with a pair of sacks in the program’s first victory in Madison since 2001.
Formed in 1985, the Butkus Award honors linebackers at three levels while supporting causes important to the Butkus family. Causes include Butkus Takes Heart™ initiative encouraging early cardiovascular screening among adults, and the I Play Clean® initiative encouraging athletes to train naturally without performance-enhancing drugs.
The Butkus Award is partnering with Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage to celebrate Butkus Award winners. The event is scheduled Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. Contact the Butkus Foundation for ticket and sponsorship information.
The Butkus Award® is presented by the Butkus Foundation and selected by a 51-member expert panel of coaches, scouts and journalists. The award is part of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. NCFAA’s 25 awards have honored more than 800 recipients since 1935. Visit www.NCFAA.org for more information.
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