Minkah Fitzpatrick added a couple of pieces of hardware to his already impressive trophy case. The Alabama defensive back was honored with the Jim Thorpe Award given to the nation’s top defensive back as well as the Chuck Bednarik Award given to the best defensive player.
“It’s a lot of pride for me, my teammates, my family coaches and everybody who’s helped me get to where I am today,” Fitzpatrick said at the College Football Awards show in Atlanta.
Fitzpatrick is the second Alabama player to win the Jim Thorpe Award, joining Antonio Langham who took home the honor in 1993. Fitzpatrick beat out Texas’ Deshon Elliot and Iowa’s Josh Jackson for the award.
Fitzpatrick is the second straight Alabama player to win the Bednarik as former defensive end Jonathan Allen became the Crimson Tide’s first winner last year. The defensive back beat out N.C. State defensive lineman Bradley Chubb and Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith for the honor.
Fitzpatrick is Alabama’s fifth-leading tackler with 52 stops, including six for a loss with 1.5 sacks. He also has an interception, seven pass breakups a forced fumble and a blocked kick. More importantly, he has played at every position across the secondary, allowing Alabama to rotate players around him.
Fitzpatrick was named first-team All-SEC by the conference earlier this week. The junior was also named one of Alabama’s permanent team captains and is viewed as the leader of a Crimson Tide defense that leads the nation allowing just 11.5 points per game. Fitzpatrick has also helped Alabama rank No. 2 in the nation in total defense, giving up just 257.8 yards per game.