TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama football defensive backs Minkak Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison were both named to the Thorpe Award watch list on Friday.
The two are among 45 defensive backs from around the country named to the preseason list. Antonio Langham previously won the award for Alabama in 1993 and is the Crimson Tide’s lone winner.
Fitzpatrick should be considered one of the favorites to win the Thorpe Award heading into his junior season. He is one of the most versatile defensive backs in the country.
As a true freshman, Fitzpatrick lined up at nickel defensive back (star) with Cyrus Jones and Marlon Humphrey manning the cornerback spots for its 2015 national championship team.
Last season, Fitzpatrick seamlessly made the transition to safety after Eddie Jackson broke a leg against Texas A&M.
Fitzpatrick finished fourth on the team last season with 66 tackles. He added 5 tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble.
Fitzpatrick’s team-high 6 interceptions was tied for seventh in the country.
In his first season as a starter at safety for Alabama football, Ronnie Harrison finished second on the team with 86 total tackles. Harrison also added 1.5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions (1 returned for touchdown), 2 fumble recoveries (1 returned for touchdown) and 7 pass breakups.
Harrison should be the emotional leader for Alabama’s defense in his junior season.
The Jim Thorpe Award has been presented annually since 1986 by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame to recognize the top defensive back in college football. The award is named in honor of multi-sport legend Jim Thorpe. The 2017 winner will be announced at the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show in December.