Jim Thorpe

Safety Blake Gideon returns the ball against Texas Tech. He is considered by many as a top candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award, which goes to the best defensive back in college football.

Photo Credit: Caleb Bryant Miller | Daily Texan Staff

Senior safety Blake Gideon has been named as one of 38 members of the 2011 preseason Jim Thorpe watch list, given annually to college football’s best defensive back.

Gideon, who is on track to be a four-year starter, has started all of the 39 games he has played in as a Longhorn. After an up-and-down season as a freshman, Gideon emerged as a big time playmaker alongside Earl Thomas in 2009. Last season, he helped anchor a defense that ranked sixth in the nation with 68 tackles and two interceptions.

In the 25-year history of the Jim Thorpe Award, two Texas players have won it: Michael Huff in 2005 and Aaron Ross in 2006.

Gideon, a Leander native, is not the only Longhorn who has been added to preseason award watch lists.

Kheeston Randall — Bronco Nagurski Trophy, Outland Trophy
Keenan Robinson — Bronco Nagurski Trophy, Bednarik Award
Mike Davis — Biletnikoff Award
Justin Tucker — Lou Groza Award