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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Seniors Marcus Allen (Upper Marlboro, Md.) and Grant Haley (Atlanta, Ga.) are among the 13 semifinalists for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, given to the top defensive back in college football. Penn State and Alabama are the only teams with two semifinalists.
The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is awarded to the best defensive back in college football based on performance on the field, athletic ability and character. The award was established in 1986 and is named after history's greatest all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled not only 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.
Allen ranks second on the team with 41 tackles, including 22 solo stops. He also had 4.0 tackles for loss with one sack, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles. Earlier this season, Allen pulled in his first career interception against Georgia State and returned it 50 yards to set up a Penn State touchdown. He also registered a safety against Pittsburgh when he took down running back Darrin Hall in the end zone.
Haley is second on the team with two interceptions and six pass breakups. He also has 19 tackles, including 2.0 tackles for loss and a sack. Haley has also recovered a fumble this season. Haley was selected as a Midseason All-American by The All-American and USA Today. He has been named to the Big Ten Team of the Week by Pro Football Focus three times this season.
The second-ranked Nittany Lions travel to No. 6 Ohio State Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on FOX. The game can also be heard on GoPSUsports.com and the Penn State Sports Network.
Single-game tickets for the 2017 Penn State football season presented by PSECU are available for the two remaining home games (Rutgers, Nebraska). For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing new 2018 season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit www.PSUnrivaled.com, call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office weekdays from 9 a.m-4:30 p.m. More than 9,000 new season tickets have been sold and the season ticket allotment for 2017 has been exhausted.