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Cincinnati's Coby Bryant wins Paycom Jim Thorpe Award for nation's best defensive back

Cincinnati Miami Ohio Football Coby Bryant
Posted at 9:54 PM, Dec 09, 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY — In his fifth season with the University of Cincinnati, Bearcats cornerback Coby Bryant received the 2021 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award.

Bryant was named the top defensive back in college football at The Home Depot College Football Awards Thursday, the same night UC coach Luke Fickell received the National Coach of the Year Award.

In Cincinnati's undefeated 2021 season, Bryant recorded three interceptions, three forced fumbles, 11 pass breakups, 14 passes defended and 41 tackles. The Bearcats ranked No. 1 in the American Athletic Conference for interceptions, passes defended, passing yards allowed per game, passer rating against and completion percentage against.

The Cleveland native started in 49 of his 62 career games at UC. He elected to use his additional year of eligibility to return to Cincinnati in 2021 as a graduate student.

"I have been granted another year of eligibility and feel that it would be best for me to come back and accomplish more and be a better leader for this team," Bryant said after the 2020 season.

Bryant's career record at UC sits at 48-14. His 45 career passes defended is the second most in Cincinnati history, and he was named first team All-AAC for the second straight season.

The first Cincinnati defensive back to receive the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, Bryant led overall ballots as a 49.65% first place vote favorite.

Bryant will be honored at the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award banquet at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame Feb. 8, 2022.

Cincinnati will face No. 1 Alabama in the College Football Playoff Semifinals at the 86th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic Dec. 31. The game will air at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN.

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