Eric Berry poses with the Jim Thorpe Award trophy during the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards at the Disney Boardwalk on December 10, 2009 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Dec. 10, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. - Tennessee safety Eric Berry was named the 2009 Jim Thorpe Award winner here Thursday night during the ESPNU Home Depot Awards Show.
The presentation in front of a nationally televised audience took place at Disney World's Atlantic Dance Hall and was Berry's second straight trip as a finalist at this event.
"I'm very pleased and very excited," said Berry. "I was kind of shocked, but I try not to get too worked up about how things turn out. This was a fun night."
The Fairburn, Ga., junior was named this year's top defensive back in major college football by the Oklahoma City-based Jim Thorpe Association. Berry was selected ahead of junior Joe Haden of Florida and sophomore Earl Thomas of Texas.
"I want to thank my teammates for always motivating me, and I definitely want to thank the coaching staff for pushing us to be the best we could be," added Berry.
Berry also earned All-America status from the Walter Camp Football Foundation for the second year in a row. The 2009 team was announced as part of the ESPNU Home Depot Awards Show.
He is the second Tennessee player (OL Chip Kelly, 1969 and 1970) to repeat as a First Team All-America.
Berry already had been named to this year's American Football Coaches Association All-America squad, and this week was selected to both the coaches and writers All-SEC teams.
Thursday's awards program was the second of three Berry is attending this week. Monday, he was in Charlotte as a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Award honoring the nation's top defensive player. This weekend, Berry travels to Newport Beach, Calif., as a finalist for the Lott Award, also presented to the top defensive player.
|Eric Berry signs autographs for fans as he arrives for the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards in Lake Buena Vista , Fla.|
Berry enters the Chick-fil-A Bowl in his home city of Atlanta second on the Tennessee team and third among SEC defensive backs with 83 tackles. He leads the team with 18 defensive big plays, which includes seven pass breakups, six tackles for loss (for minus-15 yards), two fumble returns (for 48 yards), two interceptions (for seven yards) and a forced fumble.
Berry is the active NCAA leader and stands second in NCAA history with 494 interception return yards. He is third nationally among active NCAA players with 14 career interceptions, fifth in UT history in interceptions and sixth in total passes defensed.
|2009 Walter Camp Football Foundation All-America Teams|
|FIRST TEAM OFFENSE|
|WR||Jordan Shipley||Texas||Sr.||6-0||190||Burnet, TX|
|WR||Golden Tate||Notre Dame||Jr.||5-11||195||Hendersonville, TN|
|TE||Dennis Pitta||BYU||Sr.||6-5||247||Moorpark, CA|
|OL||Russell Okung||Oklahoma State||Sr.||6-5||300||Houston, TX|
|OL||Mike Iupati||Idaho||Sr.||6-6||330||Anaheim, CA|
|OL||Mike Johnson||Alabama||Sr.||6-6||305||Pensacola, FL|
|OL||Trent Williams||Oklahoma||Sr.||6-5||318||Longview, TX|
|C||Maurkice Pouncey||Florida||Sr.||6-5||320||Lakeland, FL|
|QB||Colt McCoy||Texas#||Sr.||6-2||210||Tuscola, TX|
|RB||Toby Gerhart||Stanford||Sr.||6-1||235||Norco, CA|
|RB||Mark Ingram||Alabama||So.||5-10||215||Flint, MI|
|PK||Kai Forbath||UCLA||Jr.||6-0||192||Pacific Palisades, CA|
|FIRST TEAM DEFENSE|
|DL||Ndamukong Suh||Nebraska||Sr.||6-4||300||Portland, OR|
|DL||Jerry Hughes||TCU#||Sr.||6-4||257||Sugar Land, TX|
|DL||Terrence Cody||Alabama%||Sr.||6-5||365||Fort Myers, FL|
|DL||Gerald McCoy||Oklahoma||Jr.||6-4||297||Oklahoma City, OK|
|LB||Rolando McClain||Alabama||Jr.||6-4||258||Decatur, AL|
|LB||Eric Norwood||South Carolina||Sr.||6-1||252||Acworth, GA|
|LB||Brandon Spikes||Florida#||Sr.||6-3||258||Shelby, NC|
|DB||Eric Berry||Tennessee#||Jr.||5-11||203||Fairburn, GA|
|DB||Taylor Mays||USC#||Sr.||6-3||230||Seattle, WA|
|DB||Earl Thomas||Texas||So.||5-10||197||Orange, TX|
|DB||Joe Haden||Florida||Jr.||5-11||190||Fort Washington, MD|
|P||Drew Butler||Georgia||So.||6-2||203||Duluth, GA|
|KR||C.J. Spiller||Clemson||Sr.||5-11||195||Lake Butler, FL|
|SECOND TEAM OFFENSE|
|WR||Damario Alexander||Missouri||Sr.||6-5||215||Marlin, TX|
|WR||Freddie Barnes||Bowling Green||Sr.||6-0||206||Chicago Heights, IL|
|TE||Dorin Dickerson||Pittsburgh||Sr.||6-2||230||Imperial, PA|
|OL||Bryan Bulaga||Iowa||Jr.||6-6||312||Crystal Lake, IL|
|OL||Zane Beadles||Utah||Sr.||6-4||305||Sandy, Utah|
|OL||Anthony Davis||Rutgers||Jr.||6-6||325||Piscataway, NJ|
|OL||Ciron Black||LSU||Sr.||6-5||322||Tyler, TX|
|C||Matt Tennant||Boston College||Sr.||6-4||291||Cincinnati, OH|
|QB||Tim Tebow||Florida*%||Sr.||6-3||245||Jacksonville, FL|
|QB||Case Keenum||Houston||Jr.||6-2||210||Abilene, TX|
|RB||C.J. Spiller||Clemson||Sr.||5-11||195||Lake Butler, FL|
|RB||Jacquizz Rogers||Oregon State||So.||5-7||191||Richmond, TX|
|PK||Leigh Tiffin||Alabama||Sr.||6-2||212||Muscle Shoals, AL|
|SECOND TEAM DEFENSE|
|DL||Derrick Morgan||Georgia Tech||Jr.||6-4||272||Coatesville, PA|
|DL||Von Miller||Texas A&M||Jr.||6-3||240||DeSoto, TX|
|DL||Brandon Graham||Michigan||Sr.||6-2||263||Detroit, MI|
|DL||Brian Price||UCLA||Jr.||6-2||300||South Central LA, CA|
|LB||Greg Jones||Michigan State||Jr.||6-1||228||Cincinnati, OH|
|LB||Pat Angerer||Iowa||Sr.||6-1||235||Bettendorf, IA|
|LB||Sean Weatherspoon||Missouri%||Sr.||6-2||245||Jasper, TX|
|DB||Rahim Moore||UCLA||So.||6-1||197||Los Angeles, CA|
|DB||Kyle Wilson||Boise State||Sr.||5-10||186||Piscataway, NJ|
|DB||Javier Arenas||Alabama||Sr.||5-9||198||Tampa, FL|
|P||Zolton Mesko||Michigan||Sr.||6-5||231||Twinsburg, OH|
|KR||Chris Owusu||Stanford||So.||6-2||201||Westlake Village, CA|
|# - 2008 Walter Camp First Team All-American|
|% - 2008 Walter Camp Second Team All-American|
|* - 2007 Walter Camp First Team All-American|