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Florida's Vernon Hargreaves III named finalist for 2015 Jim Thorpe Award

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The Gators' No. 1 could be named the best defensive back in the country.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida junior cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III has been named a finalist for the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's best defensive back, according to an ESPN press release.

Hargreaves, Duke safety Jeremy Cash, and Iowa cornerback Desmond King are the three finalists for the award, which will be presented on December 10 in ESPN's Home Depot 25th Anniversary College Football Awards show.

Florida has had just one player win the Thorpe Award: Safety Lawrence Wright did so in 1996. But five other Gators — Louis Oliver, Fred Weary, Keiwan Ratliff, Reggie Nelson, and Joe Haden — have been named semifinalists.

On the season, Hargreaves has four interceptions, tied for 22nd nationally, and just two pass breakups, but has returned his four interceptions for 152 yards. King is tied for the national lead with eight interceptions, and has another 10 pass breakups, while Cash has neither an interception nor a pass breakup, but has racked up 94 tackles and an incredible 18 tackles for loss, far and away the nation's most by a defensive back.

If Hargreaves is to win the Thorpe, it will probably take fine performances against Florida State and Alabama, along with voters valuing his contributions to Florida's defense over Cash's and King's to their lesser-esteemed ones. Florida boasts the No. 10 pass defense nationally; Iowa's is No. 52, and Duke's is No. 59.