Four B1G players on Thorpe Award list

Preseason watch list season is in full swing, and the Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back, is next on the list.

Only four Big Ten players made the 35-man watch list released Friday.

Here they are:

Now to be fair, the Thorpe Award spreads the love among conferences, as eight leagues have at least three players on the list. The SEC leads the way with five selections, followed by four from the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, MAC and Conference USA.

That said, I think there are several snubs here. Iowa cornerback Micah Hyde is a dynamic playmaker who might be on my preseason All-Big Ten team. Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs comes off of an excellent junior season and will lead the way on defense this fall. Two other Michigan defensive backs, corners Blake Countess and J.T. Floyd, along with Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby also deserve consideration. The biggest snub in my view: Kovacs.

The list will be narrowed to three finalists, and the winner will be announced Dec. 6 during the Home Depot College Football Awards. Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins is the last Big Ten player to win the Thorpe Award (2008).