Michigan State senior cornerback Darqueze Dennard claimed the Jim Thorpe Award at the 2013 College Football awards to further enhance his stock as a first round draft prospect.

The Spartan held off competition from Florida State’s LaMarcus Joyner and Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert to land the prize which is awarded annually to the nation’s top defensive back. Dennard is a key player for Michigan State in a defence which leads the nation by giving up an average of just 248.2 yards per game. He leads the team in interceptions with four, passes defended with 14, pass breaks up with 10 and is ranked fourth in tackles with 59.

Predicted to be taken in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Dennard has accepted an invitation to take part in the Senior Bowl prior to the draft which boasts the country’s best senior college stars and draft prospects. A physical corner who is impressive in both man and zone coverage, Dennard has earned plaudits for his no nonsense tackling and defensive playmaking ability. Being able to make interceptions and break up passes is a highlight of the ability of the 22-year-old.

Darqueze-Dennard

USA Today named the corner as a first team All-American alongside the likes of Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews and UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, all of whom are future projected first round picks.

With the credentials that Darqueze Dennard boasts it will be no surprise when the senior from Michigan State University is drafted early and amongst the top defensive backs in the NFL draft.