Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III has been named to the preseason watch list for the 2014 Jim Thorpe Award, released Friday.
The Thorpe Award is given to the nation's best defensive back, and its preseason watch list is actually slightly saner than most preseason watch lists: "Just" 39 players appear on it. Hargreaves is one of just five sophomores to appear on the list, and he's notably joined by Florida State's Jalen Ramsey in that distinction.
Florida's Lawrence Wright won the Thorpe Award in 1996. Four Gators — Fred Weary in 1997, Keiwan Ratliff in 2003, Reggie Nelson in 2006, and Joe Haden in 2009 — have been among the three finalists for the award since,
That's not a bad legacy for a school that wants to have a claim to being DB U.
College football award watch lists are stupid. They are beholden to confirmation and recency biases, and, while designed to be comprehensive to the point of absurdity, often fail to capture the breadth of talent in the sport.
More than zero college football awards last year went to guys not on preseason watch lists, which is why preseason watch lists are pointless— Rodger Sherman (@rodger_sherman) July 7, 2014
None of the watch lists mean anything: The number of players on those lists means that the quality of player on any given list varies from good to extraordinary, with little demarcation possible, and players who currently lack the notoriety to appear on a watch list but demonstrate the skills to contend for an award in the fall will be judged no less competent for not appearing on these list.
And yet, it's the middle of summer, and we're all "starved" for college football content, so these tidbits are "worth" "noting." This note will appear at the bottom of all "Florida Gators on 2014 college football award watch list" posts. Get used to seeing it.