A key member of the LSU defense for several years, Grant Delpit now stands alone after winning the Jim Thorpe Award for college football's top defensive back.
The junior safety on Thursday became the third LSU player to win the award, which dates to 1986.
Delpit was asked one important question upon hearing he won the award. Is LSU the true "DBU"?
"We try to let our play do the talking," Delpit said, grinning on stage inside the College Football Hall of Fame.
The other players nominated were Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah and Georgia safety J.R. Reed.
"If I could drop the award just to win a national championship and have the whole team here, I would," Delpit said. "It's a true honor and blessing to win this award, but we're not done yet. We've got bigger dreams."
LSU's previous Thorpe winners came in back-to-back seasons in 2010 and 2011, when cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne each won the award before becoming the No. 5 and No. 6 overall picks in their respective NFL draft classes.
Delpit is expected follow that path; he's projected to be a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft. He logged 56 tackles (32 solo), a sack, two interceptions and six passes defensed across 12 games in his junior season. The sack came in the Tigers' first Southeastern Conference championship victory since 2011.
“It’s been eight years, man. It’s been too long," Delpit said after the SEC Championship win. "So we had to get Louisiana what they deserved, and we did that."
Delpit fought through injuries in the second half of the season but made key plays in big moments.
One such play came in the Tigers' victory over Auburn. He chased down DJ Williams to force him out of bounds short of the goal-line after a 70-yard run that looked destined for the end zone. Auburn settled for a field goal on the drive, and LSU went on to win 23-20.
2. Another play from another big game that's tough to measure statistically. Florida's Kyle Pitts has a for-sure first down, possible a TD. Grant Delpit lays a big (legal) hit to jar the ball loose.— Jeff Nowak (@Jeff_Nowak) December 12, 2019
Florida later scored on a tip-drill 4th down pass.pic.twitter.com/jAdjFFyDGZ
"I think we have a good charisma when I'm on the field," Delpit said of his impact after the title win. "I'm a vocal leader on the field, and I try to bring everybody together. When I'm healthy or when I'm not healthy, I'm going 100% regardless."
Delpit, who was named second-team All-SEC after being first team last season, has logged 190 combined tackles, 23 passes defensed, six sacks and eight interceptions during his career.
"I want this award to be for the guys who came through LSU and haven't got the chance to win this award," Delpit said. "It's truly a blessing to bring it back to the boot."
Staff writer Wilson Alexander contributed to this report.
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