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2013 Thorpe Award watch list: Four Mountain West players earn preseason honor

The Mountain West landed four players on the preseason watch list given out to the nation's best defensive back.

USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 Thorpe Award watch list is out, and this is the award given to the nation's best defensive back in all of college football. The list includes 50 total players and of that group there are four Mountain West players who want to stake their claim to that award.

Here are the four Mountain West players, with stars from 2012:

Bene Benwikere, San Jose State (S), Sr.: Seven interceptions, one touchdown, four passes broken up, recovered two fumbles, 67 total tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss.

Nat Berhe, San Diego State (S), Sr.: Two interceptions, a whopping 94 tackles, two for a loss and broke up five passes.

L. J. Jones, Fresno State (S), Sr.: Only one interception, 13 passes broken up, 43 tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss and a half a sack.

Derron Smith, Fresno State (S), Jr.: Six interceptions with one touchdown, two passes broken up, forced fumble, 79 tackles and one for a loss.

If interceptions are the key standard than Smith and Benwikere are at the top of the list, however Jones has broken up 13 passes and if he could get a better chance at those knock downs then he could easily have a few more picks.

Looking at this list, Fresno State's secondary had the chance to be one of the best in the nation, but they are not going to have Sean Alston who was on Phil Steele's preseason team but is missing the year due to a shoulder injury.

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