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Riley Jim Thorpe semifinalist

Senior cornerback Elijah Riley was recognized as one of the best defensive backs in the nation Monday following the announcement of the Black Knights captain as a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award.

Riley tops Army in tackles for loss (6), sacks (4) and forced fumbles (3). He is second on the team with 48 tackles.

The Jim Thorpe Award honored the country’s top defensive back. Previous winners include Eric Berry (2009), Patrick Peterson (2010) and Minkah Fitzpatrick (2017).

“Honored would be an understatement,” Riley tweeted.

Riley has been an impact player for the Black Knights since his freshman season. He stepped into a starting role in the third game of his plebe year following the tragic passing of Brandon Jackson. Riley is one of the most physical cornerbacks in recent Army football history. He has 170 tackles and 15.5 tackles for loss in 38 career games, 35 starts. He set career highs in tackles (13) and sacks (2) against Michigan earlier this season.

“Great player for our team these past few seasons,” coach Jeff Monken posted on Twitter. “Deserving recognition.”

Joining Riley as Thorpe semifinalists are San Diego State’s Luq Barcoo, Wake Forest’s Essang Bassey, Texas Texh’s Douglas Coleman, LSU’s Grant Delpi, Notre Dame’s Alohi Gilman, Oklahoma State’s AJ Green, Florida’s CJ Henderson, Oregon’s Jevon Holland, Alabama’s Xavier McKinney, Clemson’s Tanner Muse, Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah, Georgia’s JR Reed and Louisiana Tech’s Amik Robertson.

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