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December 12, 2013

Dennard Wins Thorpe Award

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard has won the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's best defensive back.

Dennard was presented with the award Thursday during the 23rd College Football Awards Show at Disney.

The senior and former two-star recruit from Dry Branch, Ga. finished the season with four interceptions and had two games with nine tackles, leading a dominant defense that carried the fourth-ranked Spartans to the Big Ten title. They will play No. 5 Stanford in the Rose Bowl.

The other finalists were Florida State's Lamarcus Joyner and Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert.

Dennard is the first major award winner at Michigan State since Charles Rogers won the Belitnikoff Award in 2002, and the first major award winner by a Spartan in the Mark Dantonio era.

Dantonio is believed to have coached more defensive backs who have gone on to play in the NFL than any other active college coach. This is Dantonio's first Thorpe Award winner.

Comments from Dennard and Dantonio still to come.

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