ATHENS, Ga. — A year after Deandre Baker brought Georgia’s first Paycom Jim Thorpe Award back to Athens, Bulldog graduate safety J.R. Reed has been named a semifinalist to the honor given to the best defensive back in college football, according to an announcement from the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
Reed, a native of Frisco, Texas, is one of 14 semifinalists for the award, including one of four from the Southeastern Conference. Georgia has now had a semifinalist for three straight years with Baker winning the 2018 award and Dominick Sanders earning a spot with the semifinalists in 2017.
The Thorpe Award is based on performance on the field, athletic ability and character. The semifinalists are selected by a screening committee.
Reed leads the Bulldog defensive backfield and is third on the team with 34 stops this season, including two tackles for loss. He forced a fumble over the weekend that Georgia turned into their second touchdown versus Kentucky. Reed also collected a loose ball and returned it 14 yards for a touchdown earlier this season against Murray State.
Thanks in part to the contributions listed above as well as one interception, Reed has led the Bulldogs to rank first in the SEC in Scoring Defense at 10.6 points/game (No. 4 nationally), Rushing Defense at 85.7 yards/game (No. 5 nationally) and Total Defense at 266.7 yards/game (No. 6 nationally).
Three finalists for the Thorpe Award are expected to be announced on Nov. 25. The winner is selected from the three finalists and will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards Presented by Gildan and broadcasted live on ESPN on Dec. 12. The Thorpe Award commemorative banquet will be held in Oklahoma City on Feb. 4, 2020.
In 2018, Baker finished with 40 tackles in 13 games and had two picks that he returned for a combined 82 yards to win the Thorpe Award. He also added a forced fumble and a fumble return for the Bulldogs.
Following a bye week this Saturday, the No. 10 Bulldogs (6-1, 3-1 SEC) will travel to Jacksonville, Fla., to take on No. 9 Florida (7-1, 4-1) on Nov. 2. CBS will televise the annual matchup at 3:30 p.m.