Mississippi State All-American defensive back Johnthan Banks was named one of three finalists for the 2012 Jim Thorpe Award, the Jim Thorpe Association announced Monday. Banks joins Fred Smoot (2000) as the only two players in school history to be named a finalist for the award, which is given annually to the top defensive back in college football.
A midseason All-American by six different media outlets, Banks is tied for third in the SEC with four interceptions (tied for 13th nationally) and is tied for fifth in the league in passes defended. For the season, the Conerly Trophy finalist has intercepted four passes, forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and broken up six passes.
The first player in school history to be named a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, Banks ranks in the top 10 in the FBS among active players in career interception return yards (1st, 320), career interceptions (T-3rd, 16), interceptions returned for touchdowns (T-6th, 3), interceptions per game (7th, .33) and career pass breakups (8th, 25).
Joining Banks as finalists are Dee Milliner from the University of Alabama and Phillip Thomas from Fresno State. Banks and the two other finalists will be highlighted on ESPNU during The Home Depot College Football Awards Nomination Special airing Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. (CT). This year's Jim Thorpe Award winner will be revealed on ESPN during The Home Depot College Football Awards airing live from the Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney's BoardWalk at the Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m. (CT).
The Jim Thorpe Award Banquet will be held on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 in Oklahoma City, Okla., at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.