For the second time in as many seasons, Kansas State defensive back Nigel Malone has been named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, the Jim Thorpe Association announced Tuesday.
Malone is one of 15 semifinalists for the award given annually to the top defensive back in college football. It is the seventh time in school history a Wildcat has been named a semifinalist for the award, while Malone is the third two-time semifinalist. Chris Canty was a finalist in 1995 and 1996, while Terence Newman was a semifinalist in 2001 before winning the award in 2002.
A starter since transferring from City College of San Francisco prior to last season, Malone has carded 36 tackles this year to go along with two interceptions and five pass break ups to rank eighth in the Big 12 in passes defended. He has recorded at least three tackles in each game, including a career-high six against North Texas and Oklahoma.
He picked off his first pass of the year in the season opener against Missouri State, a game in which he also forced a fumble, while his second interception was against KU.
The three Thorpe Award finalists will be named on Nov. 19 and the winner will be announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 6, airing on ESPN.