THE CITY OF OKLAHOMA – (COMMERCIAL THREAD) – Coby Bryant of the University of Cincinnati has been named the recipient of the 2021 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, awarded to the best defensive back in college football. The announcement was made live virtually for Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN. Bryant received the 2021 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award on behalf of Paycom and the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.

Bryant is the first Cincinnati defensive back to receive the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award. He led the polls overall as the favorite with 49.65% of the votes in the nationwide vote.

Bryant was a leader in defense and became one of the most trusted players for not only the Bearcats’ unbeaten 2021 regular season, but started in 49 of his 62 career games. The senior cornerback is named after NBA legend Kobe Bryant and is known for channeling Kobe’s “Mamba Mentality” onto the pitch.

“My parents loved Kobe Bryant, and so did my brother,” Coby said. “So I was named for Kobe Bryant – it’s just spelled differently.”

A huge cornerback who has been stranded all season, Bryant was responsible for 41 tackles, three forced fumbles, three interceptions, 11 broken passes and 14 defended passes. His efforts have led the Bearcats to the No. 1 consecutive AAC standings in interceptions, passes defended, passing yards allowed per game, passer rating versus and completion percentage versus.

Bryant’s 45 career passes defended are the second most important in Cincinnati history, and his 10 career interceptions are the sixth most important in Cincinnati history. With 167 tackles, 35 career assists, five forced fumbles and a 48-14 record in his career so far, Bryant ranks in the nation’s top three among active players.

He was named to the 2021 All-AAC First Team for the second year in a row; Won PFF College National Team of the Week honors (October 18), Lott Trophy Impact Player of the Week honors (October 2) and two AAC Weekly Honor Roll honors; and was named a semi-finalist of the Lott Impact Trophy.

Paycom and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame will honor Bryant at the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Banquet on February 8, 2022 in Oklahoma City.

For ticketing and advertising information for the upcoming banquet, please contact the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame directly.

The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which brings together the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now have over 800 recipients, dating back to 1935. Visit and @NCFAA on Twitter to learn more about this association.

the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is awarded to the best defensive back in college football based on their performance on the pitch, athletic ability and character. The award was established in 1986 and is named after the greatest all-around athlete in history, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on the attacking side of the ball, but also distinguished himself as a defensive back. In addition to his legendary performances on the football field, Thorpe played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon. The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is universally accepted as one of the top academic sports honors in the country.

Paycom Software, Inc. (“Paycom”) (NYSE: PAYC), a leading provider of comprehensive cloud-based human capital management software, and the Jim Thorpe Museum and the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame jointly announced in May 2017 a exclusive sponsorship of the Jim Thorpe Award. As a result, this distinction has been named the “Paycom Jim Thorpe Award”.

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