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12/12/2008 9:19 AM
CB Malcolm Jenkins  (United States)
College football notebook: Thorpe Award to Jenkins
Ohio State junior named nation's top defensive back
Friday,  December 12, 2008 3:09 AM

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Coming back for his senior season paid off for Malcolm Jenkins last night, when the Ohio State cornerback won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back.

"Whenever you're regarded as the best, it means a lot," Jenkins said moments after the college football awards ceremony ended in Orlando, Fla.

Jenkins beat out fellow finalists Eric Berry of Tennessee and Taylor Mays of Southern California.

Antoine Winfield is the only other OSU player to win the Thorpe, in 1998. Jenkins has said Winfield is the former Buckeyes player he most admired.

The Piscataway, N.J., native has 54 tackles and three interceptions this season for a Buckeyes team that ranks sixth in the nation in pass defense.

He has 11 career interceptions.

"My play and my stats weren't necessarily what got me the award," he said. "I think it also was the work I did in the community and the type of leader I am."

Also in Orlando last night, linebacker Rey Maualuga of USC won the Bednarik Award, given to the nation's top defensive player. OSU linebacker James Laurinaitis and Penn State defensive end Aaron Maybin were the other finalists.

Laurinaitis is a finalist for one other award, the Lott Trophy. The winner will be announced Sunday.

-- Ken Gordon

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Other award winners

Tim Tebow won the Maxwell Award for the second year, edging Texas' Colt McCoy and Texas Tech's Graham Harrell for the honor given to college football's best all-around player.

The Florida quarterback joined Notre Dame quarterback Johnny Lattner as the only two-time winners of the Maxwell Award. Lattner won in 1952-53.

The versatile Tebow is fifth in the nation in passer rating (176.7) with 28 touchdown passes and only two interceptions. He hasn't been asked to run as much this season but still has 564 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns.

Earlier, Tebow took Disney's Spirit Award for service off the field.

Fellow Heisman finalists Bradford and McCoy also were big winners.

Bradford beat out McCoy and Harrell for the Davey O'Brien Award (top quarterback). Bradford became the second Sooners quarterback to win the award, joining Jason White, who won it in 2004 after winning the Heisman in 2003.

McCoy was the Walter Camp Player of the Year, leading the All-American team.

Michael Crabtree, a Texas Tech sophomore, won his second straight Biletnikoff Award (best receiver). Crabtree caught 18 touchdown passes this year, and has 93 receptions for 1,135 yards.

Shonn Greene of Iowa won the Doak Walker Award (best running back).

Penn State's A.Q. Shipley has won the Rimington Trophy (top center).

Andre Smith of Alabama won the Outland Trophy (best interior lineman).

Nick Saban was selected Coach of the Year after leading Alabama to the Southeastern Conference championship game and a 12-1 record.

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