Standout sophomore safety Su’a Cravens was named to the Jim Thorpe Award 2014 watch list Friday morning after staking claim to a spot on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list on Thursday along with defensive end Leonard Williams.
It’s an honor to be named to 3 different national awards ! Blessed and humble now let’s win these things!
— Su’a Cravens (@ovo_suu) July 11, 2014
Earlier this week Cravens and fellow Trojan defenders Hayes Pullard and Williams were named to the Bednarik Award watch list as candidates to become the defensive player of the year in college football.
The Thorpe Award is reserved for the top defensive back in college football, while the Nagurski Trophy goes to the top defensive player in the country. USC’s Mark Carrier won the Thorpe Award in 1989 but no Trojan has ever taken home Nagurski honors, though Williams, who is considered one of the top NFL draft prospects for 2015, could make a serious run at it.
Cravens got his career at USC off to a quick start in 2013, enrolling early, earning a starting spot right away and snatching an interception in his first appearance in the cardinal and gold. His performance throughout the season earned him a place on the 2013 Sporting News, Athlon, and CollegeFootballNews.com Freshman All-American first teams. He also made the 2013 All-Pac-12 team as an honorable mention.
With the departure of veteran safety Dion Bailey and Josh Shaw’s apparently permanent move to cornerback, Cravens will be the center piece of the Trojan secondary in 2014. Avoiding a sophomore slump is the biggest obstacle he will need to overcome in the race for national honors.
Joining Cravens on the Thorpe watch list from the Pac-12 are Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Washington’s Marcus Peters, and Stanford’s Jordan Richards. Derron Smith, of USC’s opening game opponent Fresno State, also made the list.
For the Nagurski Trophy, the Pac-12 also features Stanford’s Henry Anderson and Alex Carter, Washington’s Shaq Thomson and Oregon’s Tony Washington.