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July 14, 2012TUSCALOOSA | University of Alabama safety Robert Lester has been named to the preseason watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to college football's top defensive back.
Lester, a senior from Foley, was also a preseason second-team Preseason All-Southeastern Conference selection as voted by league coaches, and is on the watch list for the Bronco Nagurski Trophy and the Bednarik Award, both of which recognize college football's top defensive player.
Lester made 39 tackles with two interceptions last season, breaking up three passes and defending five others on a unit that ranked No. 1 nationally in defending the pass, with UA allowing less than 112 passing yards per game and holding opponents to below 50 percent completions. He also blocked a kick and forced a fumble.
As a sophomore, Lester led the SEC and was second nationally in interceptions with eight, earning second-team All-America recognition on the Walter Camp team.
Lester is one of 35 players named to the 2012 Thorpe watch list, including four others from the SEC: Johnathan Banks of Mississippi State, Matt Elam of Florida and both Tyrann Mathieu and Eric Reid of LSU.
Alabama's Mark Barron was one of three finalists for the award last year, which was won by LSU's Morris Claiborne.
The award is presented by the Jim Thorpe Association in Oklahoma City.