The week-long barrage of preseason watch lists reached its conclusion on Friday with the release of the Jim Thorpe Award nominees (don't worry, though; there will be more lists next week!).
The Thorpe Award goes to the nation's best defensive back, and the good people on the Thorpe committee must really like this year's class of secondary stars because they put 48 (!) on the preseason list. That includes eight players from the Big Ten, which ties for the most among any conference.
Ricardo Allen, CB, Purdue
C.J. Barnett, S, Ohio State
Christian Bryant, S, Ohio State
Ibraheim Campbell, S, Northwestern
Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Ciante Evans, CB, Nebraska
Isaiah Lewis, S, Michigan State
Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
The expectations are certainly high for Ohio State's defensive backfield, as three of the four starters made the Thorpe list. Roby has a legitimate shot of winning this award and told me this spring that he's aiming for it. Dennard will challenge him for the title of best cornerback in the Big Ten. The others here are excellent players as well, though I think Roby and Dennard represent the league's best chance at this trophy. Kind of surprised not to see Minnesota's Brock Vereen or Derrick Wells or Michigan's Blake Countess and Thomas Gordon here, but I guess that means they'll have to make themselves more well known this year.