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Bama’s McKinstry, Auburn’s Simpson among Jim Thorpe Award semifinalists

Two of the best defensive backs in the state, one from Alabama and the other from Auburn, have been recognized as semifinalists for the prestigious 2023 Jim Thorpe Award.

Kool-Aid McKinstry of the Crimson Tide and Jaylin Simpson of the Auburn Tigers will be facing off against 13 other top ranked defensive backs from across the country.

The two players were chosen by a screening committee whose members created a list of players based on their performance on the field, athletic ability, and character.

PAYCOM Jim Thorpe Award 2023 Semifinalists:

  • Kris Abrams-Draine, Missouri, Junior
  • Jahdae Barron, Texas, Senior
  • Cole Bishop, Utah, Junior
  • Denzel Burke, Ohio State, Junior
  • Cooper DeJean, Iowa, Junior
  • Renardo Green, Florida State, Senior
  • Travis Hunter, Colorado, Sophomore
  • Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama, Junior
  • Benjamin Morrison, Notre Dame, Sophomore
  • Jakob Robinson, BYU, Junior
  • Willie Roberts, Louisiana Tech, Senior
  • Jaylin Simpson, Auburn, Senior
  • Malaki Starks, Georgia, Sophomore
  • TJ Tampa, Iowa State, Senior
  • Trey Taylor, Air Force, Senior

McKinstry has 20 tackles and five pass breakups this season.

Simpson has 22 tackles, four interceptions, two pass breakups, and a fumble recovery.

The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Committee will reconvene on the Sunday after Thanksgiving to select three award finalists. The award finalists will be announced as part of a special presentation by ESPN on Nov. 28.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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