2 Georgia Bulldogs named to Jim Thorpe Award Watchlist

The Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the nation’s top defensive back, has released its watchlist ahead of the 2022 season.

Two Georgia Bulldogs represent UGA football on the list, including 2021 Freshman All-SEC selection Kelee Ringo at cornerback and senior safety Christopher Smith.

Georgia defensive back Kelee Ringo (5) intercepts a pass intended for Alabama wide receiver Traeshon Holden (11) and returns it for a touchdown late in the second half of the College Football Playoff championship game, Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, in Indianapolis. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Ringo burst on to the scene last season after redshirting in 2020. The former five-star prospect’s natural cover skills helped the Bulldogs to the top pass defense in the nation a year ago.

The Tacoma, W.A., native’s 79-yard interception return for a touchdown sealed the national championship for the Dawgs.

Ringo has been named both preseason First Team All-SEC (Media) and preseason First Team All-American (Walter Camp, Football Foundation, Athlon Sports).

Sep 25, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Christopher Smith (29) runs after an interception during the first half against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Christopher Smith was one of the steady hands in Georgia’s elite secondary last season. The Bulldogs entered the season with a young, talented group that was aided by Smith’s experience.

The former four-star recruit is the most seasoned player returning in the Dawgs’ secondary and has been under head coach Kirby Smart’s tutelage since 2018.

The Atlanta native had his best performance in the national title game, racking up a career-best seven tackles, two pass breakups, a quarterback pressure and a third-quarter interception.


Story originally appeared on UGA Wire