Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward’s strong start to the season has put his name among the semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, an award bestowed upon the nation’s best defensive back.
The junior has stood out in the conference as he is tied for second in the Big Ten with 10 passes defended. He also has nine pass break-ups and an interception.
Ward is one of three defensive backs in the Big Ten on the list of 13 semifinalists, which was released Monday. The other two are both members of the team Ohio State will play this weekend as Penn State safety Marcus Allen and cornerback Grant Haley were both named to the list. The two played a prominent role in the Nittany Lions’ victory last season against Ohio State. Allen blocked a kick which Haley subsequently returned 60 yards for the game-winning touchdown. It was the first time in Penn State history a blocked kick had been returned for a touchdown.
The trio of defensive backs will square off at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Ohio Stadium.