Jim Thorpe Award Winner – 2002, Kansas State
“He has that big smile and when he walks in the room and flashes that big grin, it melts your heart. Terence brings so much to this program, not just because he’s a tremendous athlete, but he’s a terrific young man.” — Greg Peterson, Kansas State Assistant Coach
This year’s Jim Thorpe Award winner likes being a role model for children. “It makes me feel good,”he says. “Especially being in a position where everyone is looking at you. You’re under a big magnifying glass, everything you do can be seen as good or bad.”
Newman’s positive spirit and athletic abilities have earned him the nation’s top honor for college defensive backs and made him the probable number one defensive back choice in the 2003 NFL draft. A consensus All-American as a defensive back, he also received honorable mention All-American recognition as a kick returner. He was the consensus Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, receiving the honor from the league coaches, Associated Press, Kansas City Star and the Dallas Morning News. He also was a finalist for the Bronco Nagurski Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top defensive player.
During the season, Newman was named Big 12 Player of the Week three times, twice on special teams and once on defense. He was the ABC/Chevrolet Player of the Game at Missouri. Constantly avoided by opposing offenses, he ranked third among defensive backs and ninth overall on the team in total tackles with 44, including 34 solo. He had five interceptions and 14 passes broken up.
Newman not only dominated on defense, but also was a threat on offense and special teams. He had a 51-yard pass reception for a touchdown against Western Kentucky, a 40-yard kickoff return against Eastern Illinois, and a 90-yard defensive extra point on a blocked kick return against USC. He scored 26 points and ranked third on the team with 754 all-purpose yards. Colorado Coach Gary Barnett said, “Newman has scored in just about every way possible, except running a field goal out of the end zone. That kid has a lot of talent. He is very dangerous when he touches the ball.”
Newman is the 18th winner of the Jim Thorpe Award and Kansas State’s first major award winner since Michael Bishop won the Davey O’Brien quarterback award in 1998. Mike Doss of Ohio State and Troy Polamalu from USC were the other finalists for the 2002 Thorpe Award. Oklahoma’s Roy Williams was last year’s winner.