Jim Thorpe Award tabs Brontae Harris on Preseason Watch List

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UAB cornerback Brontae Harris was named to this year’s Jim Thorpe Award Preseason Watch List. (UAB Athletics)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Despite missing all of last season with a foot injury, senior Brontae Harris has been named to the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Preseason Watch List, annually presented to the nation’s best defensive back by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.

Harris is one of 49 players recognized on the prestigious preseason watch list, and just one of three from Conference USA along with Reed Blankenship of Middle Tennessee and Kaleb Ford-Dement of Old Dominion.

A lockdown cornerback, Harris was coming off an all-conference season as a sophomore, but suffered a season ending injury on the second day of 2019 fall camp. He is now 100 percent healthy and is touted as one of the top cornerbacks in the nation.

During UAB’s championship run in 2018, Harris had 34 tackles, 11 pass breakups and two interceptions. He allowed only five first downs in coverage, which was the fewest amongst C-USA corners, as was his 37.5% catch rate allowed.

For his career, he has 50 total tackles, five for a loss, three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and 16 pass breakups.

Harris joins a growing list of Blazers to earn preseason national accolades, becoming the fifth player honored. Last week, both Kristopher Moll and Jordan Smith landed on the Bednarik Watch List, while Spencer Brown was on the Doak Walker and Austin Watkins Jr. the Biletnikoff.

Not including Harris (due to last year’s injury), the Blazers return 18 starters to a team that won the second most games in program history last year (9). UAB looks to win its third straight C-USA West Division title in 2020 and its second overall championship in the last three years.

Since returning to action in 2017, UAB has tallied 28 total victories, the most of any team in Conference USA. The Blazers are also 18-0 at Legion Field and bring the nation’s fourth longest active home winning streak into the 2020 season.

Season tickets for 2020 are on sale starting as low as $75 with the Family Four Pack. Blazer Boosters members and current season ticket holders will have top priority for Protective Stadium entering 2021. Click here to purchase season tickets.   

UAB National Watch Lists:

Kristopher Moll – Chuck Bednarik Award – Nation’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player

Jordan Smith – Chuck Bednarik Award – Nation’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player

Spencer Brown – Doak Walker Award – Nation’s Top College Running Back

Austin Watkins Jr. – Biletnikoff Award – Nation’s Most Outstanding Receiver Brontae Harris – Paycom Jim Thorpe Award – Nation’s Best Defensive Back