Yesterday, Pitt safety Jordan Whitehead was named to the preseason watch list for the Nagurski Award. On Friday, he was named as an early candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award given to the top defensive back.
As mentioned earlier, Whitehead will try his hand at a new position moving from strong safety to free safety. The move should provide more opportunities for interceptions, which should help his chances of competing for the award. While an outstanding tackler for Pitt in his first two seasons, Whitehead has only two career picks (one returned for a touchdown).
While the award is going to be more attainable than the Nagurski, Whitehead would still need to register a tremendous season to even garner serious consideration.
A total of 45 players were listed on the watch list, including seven from the ACC.