Oregon’s Verone McKinley III Named Thorpe Award Semifinalist

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oregon safety Verone McKinley III has been selected as one of 12 semifinalists for the 2021 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame announced on Monday morning.

Established in 1986, the Thorpe Award is presented annually to the best defensive back in college football. The award is based on performance on the field, athletic ability, and character.

McKinley III is the eighth player in program history to be named a Thorpe Award semifinalist, and first since Jevon Holland in 2019. Ifo Ekpre Olomu – a semifinalist in 2012, 2013 and 2014 – is the lone Duck ever to be selected as a finalist (2014) for the prestigious award.

The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Selection Committee will announced three finalists for the honor on November 23, with the winner announced on December 9 on The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN. The award recipient will be honored at the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award commemorative banquet on February 8 in Oklahoma City.

Hear IN THE ZONE WITH VERONE presented by High On The Hog BBQ Mondays on the James Crepea Show exclusively on Fox Sports Eugene.

Verone McKinley III – Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Semifinalist

  • The Pac-12’s lone representative on the Thorpe Award semifinalist list.
  • Tied for second in the nation this season with four interceptions.
  • Third on the Ducks with 40 total tackles, including 24 solo.
  • Tied for the team lead with four pass breakups.
  • Came away with four picks in three games from Sept. 11 to Sept. 25.
  • First Duck since 2012 to have an interception in three straight games.
  • Two interceptions vs. Stony Brook, his second career multi-interception game.
  • Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week following win at then-No. 3 Ohio State.
  • Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week following win at Stony Brook.

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2021 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Semifinalists

Jaquan Brisker – Penn State

Coby Bryant – Cincinnati

Lewis Cine – Georgia

Jaylan Foster – South Carolina

Ahmad Gardner – Cincinnati

Kyle Hamilton – Notre Dame

Matt Hankins – Iowa

Brandon Hill – Pittsburgh

Verone McKinley III – Oregon

Ja’Quan McMillian – East Carolina

Riley Moss – Iowa

Jalen Pitre – Baylor

Oregon All-Time Thorpe Award Semifinalists

2021 – Verone McKinley III (Semifinalist)

2019 – Jevon Holland (Semifinalist)

2018 – Ugochukwu Amadi (Semifinalist)

2014 – Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (Finalist)

2013 – Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (Semifinalist)

2012 – Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (Semifinalist)

2010 – Cliff Harris (Semifinalist)

1996 – Kenny Wheaton (Semifinalist)

1995 – Alex Molden (Semifinalist)

1991 – Eric Castle (Semifinalist)