July 12, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Senior cornerback Darqueze Dennard and senior safety Isaiah Lewis have been named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List, the Jim Thorpe Association announced on Friday. The award is presented annually to the nation's best defensive back.
Michigan State is one of just seven schools to have two players on the Thorpe Award Watch List, along with Louisville, Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford, TCU and Texas.
Earlier this week, Dennard was named on watch lists for the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which both recognize the nation's best defensive player. Dennard is one of only 11 players nationally to be listed on the Bednarik, Nagurski and Thorpe Watch Lists.
This marks the first national award watch list appearance for Lewis. The three-year letterwinner has spent the past two seasons as the starting strong safety and has 169 tackles and 16 passes defended (six interceptions, 10 pass break-ups) in 40 career games, including 28 starts (27 consecutive) . His 158 interception return yards rank 10th most in MSU history.
Lewis was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection (coaches and media) last season after ranking second on the team and tied for 30th in the Big Ten with a career-high 80 tackles. He also had eight passes defended (two interceptions, six pass break-ups) and led team with six tackles on special teams, all on kick return coverage.
The Indianapolis, Ind., native returned an interception 29 yards and tallied four tackles in the 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl victory over TCU. He collected four tackles, including a 1-yard loss, and broke up a pass in MSU's win over Minnesota in the regular-season finale. Lewis recorded 10 stops and a pass break-up against No. 14 Ohio State (career-best 26 production points) and tied his career high with 12 tackles vs. Eastern Michigan.
Lewis was a second-team All-Big Ten honoree by the coaches and the media as a sophomore in 2011 after recording 74 tackles, including 2.5 for losses (5 yards), and a career-best four interceptions.