Denzel Ward Named to Thorpe Award Watch List Talented junior CB had starter-like number of plays in 2016 alongside two first-round draft picks COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State junior cornerback Denzel Ward has been named to the watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award, established in 1986 and presented to the outstanding defensive back in college football. This is the second preseason watch list for Ward. The Macedonia, Ohio, native was previously selected to the watch list for the Bednarik Award, which is presented to the top defensive player in the country. Ward did not start a game in 2016, but he lined up on defense for 468 plays as part of a three-man cornerback rotation that also featured two 2017 first-round NFL Draft picks: Marshon Lattimore (No. 11 to New Orleans) and Gareon Conley (No. 24 to Oakland). Named honorable mention all-Big Ten, Ward tied for the team lead with Lattimore with nine pass break-ups last season.