With questions surrounding the 2021 college football season, the University of Cincinnati has found multiple Bearcats named to varied college watch lists.
Monday, senior safety Darrick Forrest, sophomore Ahmad Gardner, and senior James Wiggins each earned placement on the watch list for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award.
The award is presented annually to the nation’s best defensive back in college football and considered one of the top honors in college football. It takes into account an athlete’s field performance, athletic ability, and character. The first Jim Thorpe Award, presented in 1986, honors one of the greatest all-around athletes who competed in multiple sports, including the game of college football.
On Tuesday, Forrest and Wiggins also added their names to the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list presented by LendingTree, and the Football Writers Association of American, in conjunction with the Charlotte Touchdown Club.
DARRICK FORREST – SAFETY 6-0/200 LBS
Since he arrived on campus, Forrest has been a contributor on defense and special teams. Played at Columbus (Ohio) Walnut Ridge high school, where he was a two-way performer.
Has played in 38 career games with 26 starts and earned First-Team All-American Athletic Conference honors last season.
AHMAD GARDNER – CORNERBACK 6-2/185 LBS
Gardner busted upon the scene as a freshman playing in 14 games with 31 total tackles and three interceptions returning two for touchdowns. His performance earned honors from the Football Writers Association of American Freshman All-America Team along with First-Team All-American Athletic Conference honors.
Played for Detroit (Mich.) Martin Luther King high school helping the Crusaders to the 2018 Division 3 State Championship.
JAMES WIGGINS – SAFETY 6-0/205 LBS
Bearcat fans were heartbroken when Wiggins suffered a torn ACL two days before the season opener against UCLA. Many expected the Miami (Fla.) South Dade product to expand on his breakout 2018 season.
Wiggins posted 54 tackles and four interceptions that included a pick against Virginia Tech to seal a Bearcats victory in the Military Bowl.
If Wiggins returns to his pre-injury ability, his future is exceptionally bright on the field.