NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Vanderbilt cornerback Casey Hayward has been named a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award. Fifteen defensive backs from across the nation made the list, including seven from the Southeastern Conference. The award has been given each year to the nation's top defensive back since 1986.
Hayward, a senior out of Perry (Ga.), has led the Commodores with five interceptions this season as well as eight pass breakups. He's tied for the SEC lead in interceptions with Georgia's Bacarri Rambo and Mississippi State's Jonathan Banks. Overall, Hayward leads the SEC with 13 total passes defended, and ranks fifth in the nation.
The 2011 captain has picked off 13 passes during his Commodore career, just two shy of tying a school record of 15, by Leonard Coleman. Hayward is also just seven pass breakups away from tying the school record of 36, held by Robert Davis. Overall, Hayward is just four defended passes away from tying Davis for the school record in that category as well.
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Hayward is coming off a career-high six pass deflections in the Commodores narrow loss to No.8 Arkansas.
Joining Hayward from the SEC is Georgia's Brandon Boykin, South Carolina's Antonio Allen, Mississippi State's Jonathan Banks, LSU's Morris Claiborne and Alabama standouts Mark Barron and Dre Kirkpatrick.
North Carolina State's David Amerson, the nation's leader in interceptions, Oklahoma's Tony Jefferson, Virginia Tech's Jayron Hosley, Kansas State's Nigel Malone, Southern Cal's T.J. McDonald, Virginia's Chase Minnifield and Oklahoma State standouts Markelle Martin and Brodrick Brown round out the list of 15.
LSU's Patrick Peterson won the Thorpe Award in 2010 and five players from the SEC have won the award since 1993.