Clemson’s Jonathan Meeks Named Jim Thorpe Defensive Back of the Week
CLEVELAND, Ohio – After recording two key interceptions, including one he returned 74 yards for a touchdown in No. 14 Clemson’s 38-17 win over Virginia Tech, senior safety Jonathan Meeks (Rock Hill, S.C.) has been named the Jim Thorpe Defensive Back of the Week.
Up just 10-7 with Virginia Tech driving in the second quarter, Meeks intercepted a pass at the Clemson 26 yard line and returned it for the score giving the Tigers momentum and a 17-7 lead. The 74-yard return was the longest interception return for a score by a Clemson player since 2006.
Meeks also added four tackles, a pass breakup and had another interception earlier in the second quarter as Meeks jumped to fifth in Clemson history in total interception return yards with 192.
Honorable Mention Players for Week Eight:
Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State, Senior Cornerback – Banks continued his assault on the Mississippi State record book as he tied for the team-lead with eight tackles, intercepted a pass, which he returned 46 yards, and had two pass deflections in the Bulldogs’ 45-3 win over Middle Tennessee. Banks’ 16 career interceptions now ties him for the all-time Mississippi State mark with Walt Harris.
Bene Benwikere, San Jose State, Junior Cornerback – Benwikere had a career-high 11 tackles, including two for a loss in San Jose State’s 52-24 win at UTSA. He also intercepted a pass (returned it 30 yards), forced a fumble and recovered a fumble that led to fourteen Spartan points.
A.J. Bouye, UCF, Senior Cornerback – Bouye took part in a pair of second half turnovers that were crucial in the Knights’ 35-17 win at Memphis. With UCF ahead 14-10 in the third quarter and Memphis driving, Bouye picked off a pass and ran it back 32 yards to set up a UCF touchdown. Up 21-10, Bouye put the game out of reach by scooping up a Memphis fumble and ran it back 79 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest fumble return for a touchdown in UCF history.
Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida, Sophomore Cornerback – Purifoy had three tackles including one for a loss and forced two fumbles in No. 3 Florida’s 44-11 win over No. 9 South Carolina. Purifoy’s first forced fumble came on the opening offensive play of the game when he stripped Gamecock quarterback Connor Shaw and the ball was recovered at the South Carolina one-yard line. The Gators took an early 7-0 lead three plays later and it set the tone for the rest of the day.
About the Jim Thorpe Award:
The Thorpe Award is named after history’s greatest athlete, Jim Thorpe, and is presented by the Jim Thorpe Association in Oklahoma City. Thorpe excelled at every sport in which he competed, including football at which he played on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. The 2012 Olympics mark the 100-year anniversary of Thorpe winning gold in the decathlon and pentathlon at the Stockholm Olympics.
The candidates for the award are selected by a “screening committee” of Jim Thorpe Association members who follow several players throughout the season, watching games and researching information sources to grade Thorpe Award candidates on the basis of performance on the field, athletic ability and character. The committee then narrows the field to three finalists and the names of these finalists are submitted to a national panel of about 50 sports writers, sportscasters, coaches and former players who vote to determine the winner.
The Thorpe Award winner is selected from three finalists and will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards on December 6, 2012 on ESPN.
The Jim Thorpe Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association’s official website, www.NCFAA.org.
Each week, Phil Steele will be overlooking the candidates issued by the school, the conference and distinguished committee members. After including his own personal input, the winner will be announced every Wednesday at jimthorpeassoc.org and PhilSteele.com.