Three Trojans selected as semifinalists for awards

A trio of Trojans were nominated for awards this week. Senior quarterback Matt Barkley and sophomore wide receiver Marqise Lee were named semifinalists for the 76th Maxwell Award, and senior defensive back T.J. McDonald was named one of 15 semifinalists for the 2012 Jim Thorpe Award for the nation’s top defensive back.

McDonald is one of three Pac-12 players nominated for the Jim Thorpe Award. Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Oregon State’s Jordan Poyer were also chosen. McDonald leads the team with 66 tackles, and has three pass deflections, an interception and a blocked field goal this season. He was also named a semifinalist in 2011. The last two winners—Morris Claiborne and Patrick Peterson—were both first-round picks in the NFL from LSU.

Three finalists for the Thorpe Award will be announced on Nov. 19. The winner will chosen on Dec. 6 and honored at a banquet on Feb. 5, 2013.

Barkley and Lee are two of five Pac-12 players nominated for the Maxwell Award, with the others being UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin, Oregon running back Kenjon Barner, and Oregon wide receiver/running back De’Anthony Thomas. Barkley is the only repeat nomination on the list, having completed 65.3% of his passes for 2266 yards with 25 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He currently owns the school and Pac-12 record for most touchdown passes with 105. Marqise Lee has 76 receptions for 1129 yards and 10 touchdowns.