The SEC leads all conferences with 10 players on the 2011 Jim Thorpe Award watch list, which was released Monday.
The award is annually given to the nation's top defensive back and has 37 players on this year's preseason watch list. Alabama led all schools with three players -- safeties Mark Barron and Robert Lester, and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick -- making the list.
Florida sophomore safety Matt Elam was an interesting selection. He spent his first year on campus as a backup to Ahmad Black, but Florida's new coaches are excited about the player he could be in Florida's defense. There was a lot of hype surrounding Elam coming out of high school and he could be an exciting player to watch this fall.
Behind the SEC's 10 representatives, the ACC was second with seven, followed by the Big 12 (6), Big
Ten (4), PAC-12 (4), C-USA (2), WAC (2) Big East (1) and Independents (1).
Here is the complete list of the SEC players on the Jim Thorpe watch list:
S Mark Barron, Alabama
CB Brandon Boykin, Georgia
CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
S Matt Elam, Florida
CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
CB Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt
CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
S Robert Lester, Alabama
S Tramain Thomas, Arkansas
S/CB Prentiss Waggner, Tennessee