OU Football Tradition | Award Winners

Thorpe Award | Official Site
The Jim Thorpe Award, named in memory of multi-sport legend Jim Thorpe, has been awarded to the top defensive back in college football since 1986. It is voted on by the Jim Thorpe Association, an organization based in Oklahoma City.
 
Derrick Strait
  2003 | Derrick Strait

Oklahoma defensive back Derrick Strait was named the 2003 recipient of the Jim Thorpe Award, presented annually to the nation's best defensive back by the Jim Thorpe Association of Oklahoma City.
 
Strait became the third Sooner to win the award. Roy Williams took home the hardware in 2001 and Rickey Dixon shared the honor with Miami's Bennie Blades in 1987.
 
The 5-11, 195-pound Strait recorded 80 tackles - the third-most for the 12-2 Sooners in 2003 - and intercepted three passes for 127 return yards. The senior set Oklahoma career records for passes broken up, career starts and interception return yards.
 
In the Sooners' 65-13 thrashing of rival Texas on October 11, Strait had 11 tackles, broke up three passes, recovered two fumbles and had an early interception. He also had an interception and 97-yard return against Texas Tech on November 22.
 

 Career Statistics
 Season
UT
AT
TT
TFL
INT
FF-FR
PBU
 2000
41
24
65
5-27
2-32
2-0
15
 2001
36
21
57
3-4
3-63
0-0
12
 2002
50
18
68
1-2
6-175
3-1
13
 2003
58
22
80
7-19
3-127
2-5
12
 Totals
185
85
270
16-52
14-397
7-6
52
 
Roy Williams
  2001 | Roy Williams

By the time his career was over, Roy Williams was more feared by offensive opponents and more respected by his defensive peers than any player in the country.
 
In his final season at OU, he won the Nagurski Award as the nation's top defender and the Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back. He was No. 7 in the Heisman Trophy voting, the highest finish of the year by a non-quarterback.
 
Williams bypassed his senior season of eligibility to enter the NFL draft, but still left his mark on the OU record book.
 
He was drafted in the first round (No. 8 pick overall) in the 2002 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys.
 

 Career Statistics
 Season
UT
AT
TT
TFL
INT
FF-FR
PBU
 1999
57
18
81
7-25
2
1-0
11
 2000
58
35
99
13-47
2
0-2
9
 2001
73
28
107
14-57
5
0-3
22
 Totals
188
81
287
34-129
9
1-5
42
 
  1987 | Rickey Dixon
Rickey Dixon
Rickey Dixon was named a consensus All-American in 1987, along with all-conference honors in 1986 and 1987. He became the first Sooner to win the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the top defensive back in the country. Dixon shared the award with Miami's Bennie Blades.
 
He finished his career with 156 total tackles and 16 interceptions. During his senior year he picked off eight balls, which tied the school record.
 
In the "Game of the Century II" with Nebraska rated No. 1 in the country and OU in the second position, Dixon had an incredible game as he picked off two passes. The final one came in the fourth quarter, sealing the Orange Bowl berth for the Sooners.
 
He was the fifth player taken in the 1988 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.
 

 Career Statistics
 Season
UT
AT
TT
INT
PBU
 1984
17
11
29
2-41
4
 1985
20
4
29
3-28
1
 1986
33
16
52
3-2
6
 1987
42
13
60
9-232
12
 Totals
112
44
170
16-285
23