Nov. 22, 2005
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Clemson senior cornerback Tye Hill is one of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, the honor presented to the top defensive back in the nation. Hill is joined by Jimmy Williams of Virginia Tech and Mike Huff of Texas as the three finalists.
Hill will join Clemson place kicker Jad Dean at the ESPN College Football Awards Show in Orlando December 8. Earlier on Tuesday, Dean was named one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award. It marks the first time Clemson will have two representatives at the ESPN College Football Awards Show.
It is the first time since 2000 and just the second year in Clemson history that the Tigers have had two finalists for national position awards in the same year. That year Keith Adams was one of three finalists for the Dick Butkus Award and Kyle Young was one of three finalists for the Rimington Award. That year the Rimington Award finalists were not a part of the ESPN Awards program.
Hill ranked sixth on the Clemson team in tackles this past year with 53. That included five tackles for loss, most ever by a Clemson cornerback. He had three tackles for loss among his 11 tackles at NC State in a nationally televised Clemson victory. He had a team best tying three interceptions for 36 yards and seven other passes broken up for 10 total passes defensed, best on the Tiger team. These statistics were achieved despite the fact that opposing offenses did not challenge him often in 2005. In 2004 he ranked third in the nation in passes defensed with a Clemson record tying 21 deflectins.
The native of St. George, SC was a big reason Clemson won five of its last six games of the 2005 season to move into the top 25 of the AP poll. His strong work on defense was also a reason Clemson ranked 16th in the country in scoring defense, best by a Clemson team since 1995. He has started all 11 games this year and has been in the opening lineup for 33 of the last 35 Clemson teams.
Hill is the first Clemson defensive back to rank as a finalist for the Thorpe Award. Last year Justin Miller was named a semifinalist (final 12), while Robert Carswell (2000) and Antwan Edwards (1998) were semifinalists earlier. Terry Kinard was named national Defensive Player of the Year by CBS Sports in 1982, but the Thorpe Award did not exist then. Donnell Woolford’s senior year, 1988, no finalists were named, just the winner was announced.
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