MANHATTAN, Kan. – For the third time in the last week, Kansas State senior safety Dante Barnett has earned preseason honors by being named to the watch list for the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s most outstanding defensive back, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame announced Monday.
A product of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Barnett was named to the watch lists for the Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy last week, both of which honor the nation’s top defensive player. He is one of 42 players on this year’s Thorpe Award watch list and one of four from the Big 12 Conference, joining Karl Joesph (West Virginia), Kevin Peterson (Oklahoma State) and Zack Sanchez (Oklahoma).
Barnett joins other K-State greats that have been candidates for the award, including 2002 winner Terence Newman. Cornerback Nigel Malone was a semifinalist for the award in 2011 and 2012, while safety Ty Zimmerman was also a semifinalist in 2013.
After recording 77 tackles, four tackles for loss, three interceptions and 11 total passes defended as a junior in 2014, Barnett earned Second Team All-Big 12 honors from the league’s coaches in addition to picking up all-conference accolades from ESPN and Phil Steele.
Barnett totaled a season-high 12 tackles and career-best three TFLs against UTEP last season, while he had four passes defended against Texas en route to Big 12 Defensive Players of the Week.
The winner of the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award will be announced as part of The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on December 10, on ESPN.