OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Appalachian State University senior defensive back Doug Middleton (Winston-Salem, N.C./Parkland) is one of only 42 student-athletes on the official watch list for the 30th-annual Jim Thorpe Award, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame announced on Monday.
Presented annually to college football’s best defensive back, the Jim Thorpe Award is one of the most coveted awards in college football. The award was established in 1986 and is named after history’s greatest all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on the offensive side of the ball, but also stood out as a defensive back. In addition to his legendary performance on the football field, Thorpe played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.
Louisville’s Gerod Holliman (now a member of the National Football League’s Pittsburgh Steelers) won the prestigious award in 2014.
Middleton was a first-team all-Sun Belt Conference selection in 2014 after tying for third in the conference in interceptions (4), ranking fourth in passes defended (10) and tying for 24th in total tackles (74). He was the only Sun Belt player with at least four interceptions, 10 passes defended and 70 tackles. Thanks in large part to its free safety’s efforts, Appalachian State finished with the Sun Belt’s No. 1-ranked defense last season (347.5 ypg).
The fifth-year senior has played in 37 career games with 20 starts. He can play both free and strong safety.
Middleton is one of only two representatives from the state of North Carolina on the Jim Thorpe Award watch list, joining Duke’s Jeremy Cash. He is one of four Sun Belt Conference players on the list, joining Troy’s Montres Kitchens, UL Monroe’s Mitch Lane and Texas State’s David Mims II.
The winner of the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award will be selected from three finalists and announced on Dec. 10 as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show. The formal presentation of the award will be made at the Jim Thorpe Award Banquet on Feb. 2, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Okla.