BATON ROUGE - LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne has been named as one of 15 semifinalists for the 2011 Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, the organization announced on Wednesday.
Claiborne, a sophomore from Shreveport, is one of just two defenders on the 15-player list. The only other defensive player on the list of semifinalists is Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly.
"It couldn't come to a more deserving guy," LSU coach Les Miles said of Claiborne. "He's a great leader on our team. You watch Mo and he represents us very well in everything that he does.
"He's a very talented guy. He's a kick returner, and he plays a lot on special teams in addition to what he does on defense. There's never been a time where he wasn't very productive."
Claiborne has been a key contributor for the top-ranked Tigers as he has 38 tackles and four interceptions for an LSU defense that ranks second in the nation in three categories - scoring defense, pass efficiency defense, and total defense. Claiborne also has five pass breakups, one tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry to his credit.
Claiborne is also averaging 29.5 yards on 13 kickoff returns. He helped lead LSU to a road win over West Virginia earlier this year with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
He also returned an interception 89 yards to setup a first half score in a road win over Tennessee.
The 2011 Walter Camp Player of the Year recipient, who is voted on by the Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches and sports information directors, will be presented live on Thursday, December 8 during the 6 p.m. edition of ESPN SportsCenter.
The winner will receive his trophy at the Foundation's annual national awards banquet on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at the Yale University Commons in New Haven. Sponsorships and tickets are available by calling (203) 288-CAMP.
Walter Camp, "The Father of American football," first selected an All-America team in 1889. Camp - a former Yale University athlete and football coach - is also credited with developing play from scrimmage, set plays, the numerical assessment of goals and tries and the restriction of play to eleven men per side. The Walter Camp Football Foundation - a New Haven-based all-volunteer group - was founded in 1967 to perpetuate the ideals of Camp and continue the tradition of selecting an annual All-America team.
The Walter Camp Football Foundation is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game's predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. Visit www.ncfaa.org.
2011 Walter Camp Player of the Year "Semifinalists"
Matt Barkley, Junior, QB, USC - Has passed for 2,782 yards and 29 touchdowns for the 8-2 Trojans.
Justin Blackmon, Junior, WR, Oklahoma State - Has caught 93 passes on the season, 14 for touchdowns, for 1,142 yards for the 10-0 Cowboys.
Morris Claiborne, Junior, DB, LSU - Has made 38 tackles and four interceptions for the top-ranked Tigers.
LaMichael James, Junior, RB, Oregon - Nation's top rusher at 150.9 yards per game; has rushed for 1,207 yards and 12 touchdowns for the 9-1 Ducks
Robert Griffin III, Senior, QB, Baylor - Has passed for 3,093 yards and 29 touchdowns for 6-3 Bears. Has also rushed for five touchdowns.
Chandler Harnish, Senior, QB, Northern Illinois - Has passed for 2,594 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushed for 1,203 yards and 10 scores for the 8-3 Huskies.
Landry Jones, Junior, QB, Oklahoma - Has passed for 3,349 yards and 28 touchdowns for the 8-1 Sooners.
Case Keenum, Senior, QB, Houston - Has passed for 3,951 yards and 37 touchdowns for the 11th-ranked Cougars (11-0).
Luke Kuechly, Junior, LB, Boston College - Leads the nation with 168 total tackles (89 solo) for the Eagles. Also has made two interceptions.
Andrew Luck, Senior, QB, Stanford - Has passed for 2,695 yards and 29 touchdowns for the 9-1 Cardinal; has completed 70.6 percent of his passes.
Kellen Moore, Senior, QB, Boise State - Has completed 74.1 percent of his passes for 8-1 Broncos. Has passed for 2,549 yards and 31 touchdowns.
Trent Richardson, Junior, RB, Alabama - Has rushed for 1,205 yards and 18 touchdowns for the third-ranked Crimson Tide (9-1).
Sammy Watkins, Freshman, WR/KR, Clemson - Has caught 65 passes for 1,034 yards and 10 touchdowns for the 9-1 Tigers. Has also returned one kickoff for a touchdown.
Brandon Weeden, Senior, QB, Oklahoma State - Has completed 73.1 percent of his passes for the
second-ranked Cowboys (10-0). Has passed for 3,635 yards and 31 touchdowns.
Russell Wilson, Senior, QB, Wisconsin - Has passed for 2,416 yards and 25 touchdowns for the 8-2 Badgers. Has also rushed for four touchdowns.