MADISON (Press Release) - Wisconsin senior cornerback Antonio Fenelus was named Monday to the preseason watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award.
A total of 37 players earned a spot as preseason candidates for the award, which is presented annually to the nation's top defensive back. Fenelus is one of four Big Ten Conference players named to the watch list for the 2011 edition of the award.
Additional players will be placed on the list as the season progresses, based on performance.
The Badgers' team leader in interceptions and passes defended as a junior last season, Fenelus earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from the league's media. He started all 13 games for the Badgers, snaring four interceptions and defending 11 passes.
Fenelus also was responsible for one fumble and recovered two others in addition to racking up 56 total tackles out of the secondary. He matched his career high with nine total stops in UW's win over Purdue on Nov. 6, the same game in which he recovered a fumble and returned an interception for a touchdown.
The performance against Purdue earned Fenelus one of his two co-defensive player of the week honors in 2010.
Fenelus is one of three returning starters in the Badgers' secondary for 2011, where he is joined by fellow seniors Devin Smith at the other cornerback spot and Aaron Henry at safety.
The Jim Thorpe Award celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2011. The annual honor is named for great all-around athlete Jim Thorpe, who not only excelled as a two-way player on the gridiron but also played professional baseball and was an Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon.
The Thorpe Award winner will be selected from a pool of three finalists at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 8. The 25th Anniversary Jim Thorpe Award Banquet is set for Feb. 7, 2012, in Oklahoma City.
UW opens the 2011 season by matching up with UNLV under the lights at Camp Randall Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 1. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., live on ESPN.
Courtesy: UW Press Release