Payne Named One Of 12 National Semi-Finalists For Jim Thorpe Award
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  11/09/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Nov. 9, 2004

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - University of New Mexico senior cornerback Brandon Payne was selected as one of 12 national semi-finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award the screening committee announced this morning. The Jim Thorpe Award is presented annually to the nation's best defensive back. Payne leads the nation with 22 passes defended and 15 passes broken up. He is tied for fourth in the country with five interceptions. The Dayton, Texas native is the lone player from a non-BCS school on the list of semi-finalists.

Payne is the second Lobo under head coach Rocky Long to be named a semi-finalist for the Thorpe Award. Former All-American safety Brian Urlacher was one of three finalists for the award in 1999.

The list will be narrowed on Nov. 22 to three finalists. The winner will be announced on ESPN's College Football Awards Show, telecast live from Disney World in Orlando, Fla. on Dec. 9.

Oklahoma City's Jim Thorpe Association first presented the award in 1986 to Thomas Everett of Baylor. Everett will be the presenter on this year's ESPN show. The official presentation of the award will be at a banquet in Oklahoma City on February 8, 2005. Winners are selected on the basis of performance on the field, athletic ability and character.Last year's winner was Oklahoma University standout Derrick Strait.

The 2004 semi-finalists are:

Jason Allen, Jr,Tennessee

James Butler, Sr, Georgia Tech

Thomas Davis, Jr, Georgia

Jim Leonhard, Sr,Wisconsin

Mitch Meeuwsen, Sr,Oregon St

Justin Miller, Jr,Clemson

Brandon Payne, Sr, New Mexico

Carlos Rogers, Sr, Auburn

Antrel Rolle, Sr,Miami

Ernest Shazor, Sr,Michigan

Corey Webster, Sr,LSU

Jimmy Williams, Jr,Virginia Tech