Erick Hallett II named Jim Thorpe Award Semifinalist


Pamela Smith | Visual Editor

Erick Hallett II (31) scores a touchdown after intercepting a throw made by Wake Forest during the ACC championship football game on Dec. 4, 2021.

By Dalton Coppola, Sports Editor

The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame has named Pitt senior safety Erick Hallett II as a semifinalist for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award. The award recognizes the top defensive back in college football. The honor takes “performance on the field, athletic ability and character” into consideration as well.

There are 11 other semifinalists alongside Hallett vying for the award, with Hallett as the lone player on the list from the ACC. The senior defensive back ranks No. 5 in the nation in fumble recoveries with two. 

Not only does Hallett have a knack for scooping up loose balls, he’s flourished in pass coverage as well. He ranks No. 14 in the nation in interceptions with two and No. 20 in passes defended with six. Pro Football Focus’ rating index has him graded as the top slot defensive back in all of college football.

Hallett had some very high highs and very low lows last season. The safety drew criticism from the media and fans alike for his performance against RPO offenses. But he went out in style, winning ACC Championship Game MVP, with two interceptions and a game-winning pick-6.

But Hallett found consistency this season and earned national recognition for it. The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame will narrow the list down to three finalists on Nov. 29 and reveal the winner of the Jim Thorpe Award on Dec. 8.

The senior has another opportunity to impress the national media and voters this weekend when Pitt takes on North Carolina. The game will kick off at 8 p.m. and air on ACC Network.