Oklahoma City--- University of North Carolina cornerback Kendric Burney and safety Deunta Williams have been named to the 2010 Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list announced Monday.
The Thorpe Award is presented annually to the nation's top defensive back and is one of college football's most sought after and prestigious awards.
Both Burney and Williams have started all 38 games in their respective careers. Burney was a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection in 2009 and a second-team pick in 2008. He intercepted five passes for 200 return yards a year ago, establishing an ACC single-game record with 170 interception return yards vs. Miami.
Williams also earned first-team All-ACC honors last season after recording 47 tackles and six interceptions for 114 return yards. The Jacksonville, N.C., native has 12 career interceptions, which ranks third all-time at UNC.
The award is named after history's greatest all-around athlete, a man who excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on offense, but also was a standout defensive back. Recognized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame simply as "The Legend", Thorpe also played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.
The Jim Thorpe Award "watch list" is determined by analysis of the pre-season All-American teams listed in at least six pre-season college football annual magazines. Four points are awarded for first team, three points for second team, two points for third and one point for honorable mentions. This procedure determines approximately 30-40 players on the pre-season watch list. This list is not final and players who have outstanding seasons are added as the season progresses.
A "Screening Committee" of Jim Thorpe Association members follows these players throughout the season, watching games and researching information sources to grade Thorpe Award candidates on the basis of performance on the field, athletic ability and character. The committee meets on the first Monday in November to narrow the field to 10 or 12 semi-finalists.
The committee meets again on the Monday before Thanksgiving to select the three finalists. The names of these finalists are submitted to a national panel of about 50 sports writers, sportscasters, coaches and former players who vote to determine the winner. The three finalists are invited to the ESPN College Football Awards Show, and the winner is announced during the show.
Formal presentation of the Jim Thorpe Award takes place at ceremonies in Oklahoma City on the first Tuesday in February following the national signing date for college football recruits.
The Jim Thorpe Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game's predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association's official Web site, www.NCFAA.org.