Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Utah State Aggies safety Brian Suite (21) celebrates a good play in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013. USU won 21-14.

Utah State senior safety Brian Suite was named to the 2014 Jim Thorpe Award Watch List, it was announced Friday by the National College Football Awards Association.

The Jim Thorpe Award, which is presented annually to the best defensive back in college football, is one of the most coveted awards in college football. The award was established in 1986 and is named after history’s greatest all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on the offensive side of the ball but also stood out as a defensive back. In addition to his legendary performance on the football field, Thorpe played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.

Suite, who is the only defensive player from Utah recognized, is also one of five Mountain West defenders named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List along with Boise State’s Donte Deayon and Jeremy Ioane, Fresno State’s Derron Smith and San Diego State’s J.J. Whittaker.

In all, Suite is one of 39 Football Bowl Subdivision players named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List.

Entering his senior season, Suite is also a first-team preseason all-Mountain West selection by Phil Steele and a second-team preseason all-Mountain West selection by Athlon Sports.

Suite, a 6-foot-3, 205-pounder from Honolulu, Hawaii (Punahou HS), earned honorable mention all-Mountain West honors as a junior as he ranked fourth on the team with 77 total tackles (37-solo, 40-assist) and had six or more tackles in eight games. He finished the season ranked first on the team, fifth in the Mountain West and 41st in the nation with five total interceptions (0.36 ipg); tied for first on the team in fumbles recovered with two; and tied for fourth on the team with six pass breakups.

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Suite was also named to the and the CBS All-Bowl Team following Utah State's 21-14 win against No. 24 Northern Illinois in the 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl as he tied his season-high with 11 tackles, to go along with a fumble recovery and an interception.

The Jim Thorpe Award winner is selected from three finalists and will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 on ESPN. The Jim Thorpe Award Banquet will be held Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Utah State opens its 2014 season on Sunday, Aug. 31, at Tennessee and plays its first home game the following weekend against Idaho State on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m.

Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.