Pitt safety Paris Ford has been named to the watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the nation’s top defensive back.
The Thorpe Award, named after former collegiate and professional football player, professional baseball player and Olympic pentathlete and decathlete Jim Thorpe, is voted on by members of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
Ford adds the Thorpe Award watch list selection to a full offseason of recognition that has included three preseason All-American selections and a watch list nomination for the Bednarik Award for the best defensive player in the country.
A redshirt junior, Ford led Pitt in tackles with 97 during a breakout 2019 season. He also had a team-high three interceptions, broke up 11 passes and forced three fumbles.
Ford’s breakout 2019 at boundary safety came after playing sparingly as a reserve cornerback in 2018 and not at all while redshirting in 2017. In 2019, he made 11 starts in 13 games, missing two assignments due to targeting penalties.
A Pittsburgh native and Steel Valley alum, Ford rejected advances from the NFL to return to Pitt along with secondary-mate Damar Hamlin and fellow preseason All-Americans, defensive linemen Patrick Jones II and Jaylen Twyman.