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Jim Thorpe Award

Williamson named to pre-season watch list
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
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Photo by Tim Smith

Louisiana Tech sophomore defensive back BeeJay Williamson has been named to the pre-season Jim Thorpe Award watchlist after a stellar 2020 campaign. Williams is expected to lead the Bulldogs’ secondary this season.

Louisiana Tech defensive back BeeJay Williamson was named to the 2021 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Preseason Watch List it was announced by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame (OSHOF) and Jim Thorpe Association on Monday.

This list includes 40 of the nation’s best defensive backs, representing 10 conferences and one independent. The preseason watch list is selected by a screening committee whose members compile a list of up to 50 players. This list is not final, and players who have outstanding seasons may be added as the season progresses.

Williamson was named to the 2021 Conference USA Preseason Watch List after earning first team all-Conference USA honors by both the league and Phil Steele in 2020.

The native of Dallas, Texas, finished the 2020 season third on the team with 56 total tackles, including 32 solo, while also registering 2.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, three interceptions, three pass breakups, one quarterback hurry and one forced fumble.

Williamson was an honorable mention for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Player of the Week in 2020 after he registered two interceptions against UAB (Oct. 31) and forced a fumble at the goal line to give Tech the game-winning possession. The sophomore defensive back registered multiple tackles in every game of the 2020 campaign.

Williamson was one of three Conference USA players to earn a spot on the watch list as he was joined by Marshall’s Steven Gilmore and UTSA’s Rashad Wisdom.

A preseason watch list is compiled by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame based on previous performance and preseason All-America lists. A screening committee consisting of OSHOF members monitor the watch list players and narrow the field to 10 to 15 semifinalists in October.

This committee reconvenes on the Monday before Thanksgiving to select three award finalists. The three finalists are submitted to a national panel of over 250 sports writers, sportscasters, former players and coaches who vote to determine the winner of the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award.

The winner will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show. Other recognized National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) awards announced include the Bednarik Award, Maxwell Award, Mackey Award, Rimington Trophy, Lou Groza Award, Ray Guy Award, Bronko Nagurski Award, Outland Trophy, Butkus Award, Lombardi Award, Biletnikoff Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Doak Walker Award and Walter Camp Award.

The official presentation of the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award takes place in Oklahoma City, following ESPN’s live presentation at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show. The current winner and all former winners are invited each year to celebrate.

Over 600 supporters attend the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Banquet each year, including many celebrities and dignitaries.