LSU Primed for Unprecedented Third Straight Jim Thorpe Award

Tyrann Mathieu (7) and Eric Reid expect to be a formidable tandem in the Tiger secondary in 2012. PHOTO BY CHRIS KEANE.

The attention and respect just keeps on rolling in for the LSU defense.

LSU juniors Tyrann Mathieu and Eric Reid were named to the watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented annually to the nation’s best defensive back, the Jim Thorpe Association announced Friday.

Former Tiger cornerbacks Patrick Peterson, who now plays for the Arizona Cardinals, and Morris Claiborne, new member of the Dallas Cowboys, took home the trophy in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Texas (2005, ’06) is the only other school to produce Thorpe Award winners two seasons in a row.

Mathieu and Reid are two of five SEC players on the watch list that includes 35 players in all.

Mathieu is listed as a cornerback but with his knack for causing turnovers, thrives as a rover playing more like a safety. A 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist, Mathieu heads into 2012 having created a total of 14 turnovers in his three-year career. His 11 forced fumbles rank seventh in NCAA history and are just three shy of the NCAA career record.

Reid is one of the best free safeties ever to wear the Tiger uniform, leading a Tiger defense that is heady and hard-hitting. His interception at the goal line against Alabama in Tuscaloosa last year essentially saved the day for the Tigers in a 9-6 victory.

Mathieu and Reid’s numbers are eerily similar, as both tied for the team lead in tackles last season with 76 and enter the 2012 season with four career interceptions.

The Thorpe Award Watch List is not final, and players who have outstanding seasons are added as the season progresses.

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Feature photo of Reid congratulating Mathieu by Chris Keane.

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