PULLMAN – Jalen Thompson is presumed to be one of the top returning safeties in the Pac-12 Conference this season and Monday, the Washington State junior was named to a watch list featuring the top defensive players in the country.
Thompson, who led the Cougars in total tackles from his spot in the defensive secondary (73) last season and posted four interceptions to finish third in the conference, was named to the Bednarik Award watch list, the Maxwell Club announced. He’s one of 10 Pac-12 players to make the cut for the honor given to the nation’s top defenseman.
The Downey, California, native started in all 13 games for the Cougars as a sophomore and tied for the Pac-12 lead in fumble recoveries en route to being named to the All-Pac-12 Second Team and the Associated Press All-Pac-12 First Team. That followed a freshman season in which Thompson was named to the True Freshman All-America Team by ESPN after he recorded 51 tackles and a team-high seven pass breakups.
Thompson, along with senior wide receiver Kyle Sweet, will represent the Cougars at Pac-12 Media Day on July 25 in Hollywood.
From the Pac-12, Oregon’s Jalen Jelks and Troy Dye, Stanford’s Alijah Holder and Bobby Okereke, USC’s Porter Gustin, Cameron Smith and Marvell Tell and Washington’s Greg Gaines and Taylor Rapp also made the watch list.
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