OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Coastal Carolina senior cornerback D’Jordan Strong was named to the prestigious Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Preseason watch list for the 2021 season, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame (OSHOF) and Jim Thorpe Association released today. The list includes 40 of the nation’s best defensive backs, representing 10 conferences and one independent.
Strong picks up another preseason accolade after earning Preseason All-Sun Belt first-team honors, as well as being named to the preseason All-Sun Belt first team by Pro Football Focus (PFF) College Football, Phil Steele, and Athlon Sports. He was also named to the 2021 College Football America Yearbook’s Preseason Group of 5 Starting Lineup earlier this week.
Tabbed the 2020 Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year, Strong made an immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball for the Chants and the “Black Swarm” defense in 2020 in which he was also a 2020 All-Sun Belt first-team selection and a member of the 2020 Phil Steele Sun Belt Conference All-Conference first team.
In his first season at Coastal last year, Strong played in and started all 12 games in the defensive backfield for the Chants. He ranked second in the Sun Belt and third nationally with five interceptions on the season and totaled seven pass breakups to give him 12 passes defended which were tied for fifth in the league overall. He added 30 tackles, 2.0 tackles-for-loss, and forced one fumble on the season.
Strong was one of just six different players in the Sun Belt to pick up two interceptions in the same game but the only one to do it twice with two picks against both Georgia Southern (Oct. 24) and Appalachian State (Nov. 21). He also returned one of the interceptions for a touchdown to help seal the Chants’ first-ever win over App State.
The preseason watch list is compiled by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame based on previous performance and preseason All-America lists. A screening committee consisting of OSHOF members monitors the watch list players and narrows the field to 10 to 15 semifinalists in October. This committee reconvenes on the Monday before Thanksgiving to select three award finalists. The three finalists are submitted to a national panel of over 250 sportswriters, sportscasters, former players, and coaches who vote to determine the winner of the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award.
The winner will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show. Other recognized National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) awards announced include the Bednarik Award, Maxwell Award, Mackey Award, Rimington Trophy, Lou Groza Award, Ray Guy Award, Bronko Nagurski Award, Outland Trophy, Butkus Award, Lombardi Award, Biletnikoff Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Doak Walker Award, and Walter Camp Award.
The official presentation of the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award takes place in Oklahoma City, following ESPN’s live presentation at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show. The current winner and all former winners are invited each year to celebrate. Over 600 supporters attend the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Banquet each year, including many celebrities and dignitaries.
COURTESY: COASTAL CAROLINA ATHLETICS