EVANSTON, Ill.- Northwestern defensive back Brandon Joseph has been named as a semifinalist for the 2020 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, an honor that recognizes the nation’s top defensive back in on field performance, athletic ability and character.
Joseph is just one of four underclassmen nominees to be considered for the award, with a total of 12 student athletes named to the list. He joins fellow Big Ten defensive back Shaun Wade of Ohio State in representing the conference. The Big Ten is one of four conferences to have at least two players in contention for the national award.
The College Station, Texas native has enjoyed a breakout season as part of the Wildcats’ nationally recognized defense. He has been named as the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Week twice in just six games played and his five interceptions this season are tied for the most in the country. Joseph also ranks fourth on the ‘Cats in total tackles and is first among non-linebackers in that category.
Joseph’s first three interceptions of the season came within the initial three games for the ‘Cats, which made him the first Big Ten player to snatch at least three interceptions in the first three games of a season since Ohio State’s Malik Hooker and Marshon Lattimore both did so in 2016. He is the first Northwestern rookie to record five interceptions in a season in nearly 20 years (Bryan Heinz, 2003).
The three finalists for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award will be announced on Tuesday, Dec. 22 in conjunction with ESPN. The winner will be recognized on The Home Depot College Football Awards Show Presented by Gildan on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021 from 7-8:30 p.m. EST on ESPN.
COURTESY NORTHWESTERN ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS