The season is finally getting closer. The release of preseason watch lists for the major college football awards confirms it, and starting with the first two that were released on Monday and including all of them that follow, BuckeyeNation will break them down to see which Ohio State representatives have a shot at bringing home some hardware.
Jim Thorpe Award
What: The nation's top defensive back
On the list: Buckeyes safety C.J. Barnett
Credentials: The junior led the team in tackles last season with 75, throwing in a sack to go along with six passes defended and two interceptions. Brings plenty of experience to the secondary after starting every game for the Buckeyes as a sophomore.
Head to head: Showcase opportunities against other opponents under preseason consideration -- Johnny Adams (Michigan State), Ricardo Allen (Purdue), Kemal Ishmael (Central Florida), Isaiah Lewis (Michigan State), Daynonne Nunley (Miami of Ohio)
Odds: The fact Barnett finds himself around the football so much is definitely a bonus, because finishing plays and piling up tackles can often be easier to manage than forcing turnovers. Barnett has shown a couple times in his career already that he can do the latter as well, and if he's able to snag a few passes or scoop up a couple of fumbles, he could potentially play his way into contention for a trophy.