DURHAM, N.C. – Duke junior safety Jeremy McDuffie has been named one of 13 semifinalists for the 2017 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, an honor presented annually to the nation’s top defensive back.
A 5-11, 175-pound native of Snellville, Ga., McDuffie has started all eight games this season and compiled 45 tackles, three interceptions and nine pass breakups. His 1.50 passes defended per game average ranks tied for first in the ACC.
McDuffie helped Duke to a win over Baylor on September 16 by recording three tackles, one interception and four pass breakups and, one week later, spearheaded the defensive performance with 10 total tackles as the Blue Devils defeated North Carolina. McDuffie also registered interceptions against Virginia and Florida State, returning the pick against the Cavaliers 42 yards for a touchdown.
Joining McDuffie on the semifinalist list are Marcus Allen (Penn State), Quin Blanding (Virginia), Jalen Davis (Utah State), DeShon Elliott (Texas), Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama), Grant Haley (Penn State), Derwin James (Florida State), Parry Nickerson (Tulane), Justin Reid (Stanford), Dominick Sanders (Georgia), Levi Wallace (Alabama) and Denzel Ward (Ohio State).
The Thorpe Award is presented by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and Jim Thorpe Association in Oklahoma City. Three finalists for the award will be announced on November 20 and the recipient will be announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on December 7.