OKLAHOMA CITY Redshirt senior free safety Javon Hagan (Jacksonville, Fla.) and junior cornerback Jamal Hudson (Miami, Fla.) of the Ohio football team have been named to the 2019 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Preseason Watch List, as announced by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame today.
The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award annually recognizes the best defensive back in college football. The award is based on performance on the field, athletic ability and character. As such, it is considered one of the most coveted awards in college football.
This list includes 46 of the nation's best defensive backs, representing 10 conferences and one independent. The preseason watch list is selected by a screening committee who compiles a list of 30-50 players. This list is not final and players who have outstanding seasons are added as the season progresses.
The award recipient is selected by the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award National Selection Committee, which boasts members of the NCFAA, an Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in-house award committee, former Paycom Jim Thorpe Award recipients, and sportswriters and college football journalists throughout the country.
The 2019 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award winner is selected from three finalists and will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards Presented by Gildan on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, on ESPN. The Paycom Jim ThorpeAward commemorative banquet will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in Oklahoma City.
Hagan and Hudson helped the Ohio defense rank first in the country in turnovers gained with 32. Hagan tied for the team lead with two interceptions and both forced and recovered a fumble while Hudson picked off one pass.
Hagan, who has already earned his undergraduate degree in sport management, received Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Preseason Watch List selection for the second year in a row. Hagan has earned All-MAC recognition in each of the last three years, earning First Team honors twice (2016, '18) and Second Team recognition once (2017). A starter in 35 of the 39 career games he has played in, Hagan has compiled 216 career total tackles (120 solo, 96 assisted), with 5.0 career tackles for loss, has accounted for 25 career passes defensed (10th-most in program history), has tallied six career interceptions for 132 career interception return yards, has notched 19 career pass breakups (ninth-most in program history) and has forced eight career fumbles with three career fumble recoveries. As a redshirt freshman in 2016, he was named to the Sound Mind Sound Body Freshman All-America Team by the Football Writers Association of America and earned MAC Freshman of the Year hon ors after picking off a career-high three passes and totaling 120 interception return yards and forcing a career-high six fumbles -- good for third in the country and first in the MAC -- with one fumble recovery.
A finance and business analytics major, Hudson has played in 21 career games over the last two seasons. Making a career-high 12 starts as a sophomore in 2018, Hudson compiled a career-high 39 total tackles (28 solo, 11 assisted) with one tackle for loss. He led the Bobcats with 13 passes defensed, notched a team-high 12 pass breakups and recorded his first career interception at Cincinnati (Sept. 22). For his career, Hudson has recorded 47 total tackles (31 solo, 16 assisted), 17 passes defensed and 16 pass breakups.
The selections of Hagan and Hudson to the 2019 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Preseason Watch List brings Ohio's preseason watch list recognition total to five so far in 2019. The duo joins senior quarterback Nathan Rourke (Oakville, Ontario, Canada), who was named to both the Maxwell and Davey O'Brien Award watch lists, and redshirt senior center Steven Hayes (Dacula, Ga.), who was named to the Rimington Trophy Watch List.
Ohio will kick off the 2019 regular season on Saturday, Aug. 31, with a home matchup against Rhode Island at Peden Stadium.