Shaun Wade, a fourth-year junior cornerback, represented Ohio State on the Jim Thorpe Award watch list.
Wade is one of 49 defensive backs to be named to the watch list for the Thorpe Award, which honors the nation’s top defensive back each year.
— Paycom Jim Thorpe Award (@jimthorpeaward) July 20, 2020
The Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian Academy product became one of the most effective defensive players in the country as a redshirt sophomore in 2019. He enters his junior season with high expectations after returning to Columbus despite receiving first-round draft grades.
“He should be a Thorpe Award finalist right off the get-go,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said of Wade in January. “He’s got a chance to be one of the best corners in the country and hopefully a first-round draft pick next year.”
Wade led Ohio State defensive backs with four tackles for loss and two sacks out of his 25 tackles (16 solo), earning third-team All-Big Ten honors. The versatile corner also forced one fumble, picked off one pass and tied for second on the team with eight passes deflections.
Having a knack for making big plays, Wade led the Buckeyes with three interceptions as a redshirt freshman in 2018. He also tied for fourth on the team with seven pass breakups and recorded one forced fumble to go with his career-high 31 tackles (27 solo).
As a true freshman in 2017, Wade suffered a torn abdomen injury and took a redshirt after requiring season-ending surgery.
Prior to coming to Columbus, Wade was highly touted as a five-star corner and the No. 17 overall prospect. The only cornerback ranked ahead of Wade for 2017 was former teammate Jeff Okudah, who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Okudah came up short of winning the Thorpe Award in 2019, finishing as a finalist when the winner was LSU’s Grant Delpit, who became a second-round selection of the Cleveland Browns (No. 44 overall).
Two former Buckeyes have won the Thorpe Award, with the most recent coming in 2008 when Malcolm Jenkins took home the hardware. Antoine Winfield won the award in 1998.
Eric Burrell of Wisconsin, Ambry Thomas of Michigan, and Lamont Wade of Penn State represent the Big Ten on the Thorpe Award watch list along with Wade.
Shaun Wade was already named to the watch lists for the Bednarik Award which honors the nation’s top defensive player, and Lott IMPACT Trophy. which goes to the defensive player who makes the most IMPACT, which stands for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.
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