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Ifo Ekpre-Olomu heads list of Thorpe Award semifinalists

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Steve Dykes/Associated Press
Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu will be among the first defensive backs drafted in April.

Oregon's Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and the nation's top two interceptors, Mississippi's Senquez Golson and Louisville's Gerod Holliman, are among the 15 semifinalists named Monday for the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the nation's top defensive back.

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Ekpre-Olomu was the most highly hyped defensive back in the nation heading into the season, and while he has struggled at times -- most notably against Washington State -- he also seems likely to be the first cornerback selected in the 2015 NFL Draft. Golson and Holliman, meanwhile, are tied for the national lead with eight interceptions.

Golson, a corner, was joined on the semifinalist list by teammate Cody Prewitt, a safety. Holliman also is a safety.

The other finalists are TCU safety Sam Carter, Duke safety Jeremy Cash, Alabama safety Landon Collins, Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller, East Carolina cornerback Josh Hawkins, LSU safety Ronald Martin, Stanford safety Jordan Richards, Oklahoma cornerback Zack Sanchez, UT San Antonio safety Triston Wade, Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes and Florida State cornerback P.J. Williams.

The three finalists will be announced Nov. 24, while the winner will be named Dec. 11.

Past winners include Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard in 2013, LSU's Patrick Peterson in 2010, Auburn's Carlos Rogers in 2004 and Florida State's Deion Sanders in 1988.

While it's hard to find fault with any of the semifinalists, others who deserved mention include UCF cornerback Jacoby Glenn, Maryland cornerback Will Likely and Washington cornerback Marcus Peters.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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