The honors and accolades for “The One Who Stayed” continue to pile up. Jalen Pitre has already received First Team All Big 12 Honors, received the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, and has been named a finalist for the Thorpe Award, given to the best defensive back in the country. For Pitre though, the awards aren’t slowing down.
Today, ESPN released its Postseason All-America team, naming Pitre as one of the two safeties receiving the honor. The All-America team includes 26 total players, 12 on offense, 11 on defense, and 3 special teamers. Pitre is one of only two Big 12 players to receive the honor, joining Oklahoma State LB Malcom Rodriguez. Of the 26 players ESPN named to their postseason team, only 7 were included in the preseason team that ESPN released before the year.
Similar to how Pitre performs on the field, though, one honor today was not enough, as he has been named Defensive Player of the Year by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. He joins UTSA’s Jeff Traylor (Coach of the Year) and QB Frank Harris (Offensive Player of Year) as being named the best performers in the state of Texas.
Baylor fans have a huge amount of love for Pitre due to his firm commitment to the Bears, even through one of the roughest scandals college football has seen in recent memory. But, make no mistake, these awards are not handed out to players because of the love their local fans have for them. Pitre has earned every honor he’s received through his stellar play on the field. He led the Big 12 in tackles for loss (AS A SAFETY) and racked up 3 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 5 pass breakups, 2 interceptions, and 2 sacks to go along with 55 total tackles. A statline like that is almost unheard of for someone who plays a position that is supposed to be away from the line of scrimmage, but Pitre’s versatility and Dave Aranda’s unique defensive system have allowed him to flourish and make plays all over the field for the Bears. And did I mention he will forever be able to call himself a Big 12 champion? From where Pitre has come, a 3-star recruit left all alone in a lost recruiting class, there is no doubt he will go down as one of the greatest players to ever wear the Green and Gold.
There’s still more season to go, though, and Pitre may not be done collecting awards. We will find out the winner of the Thorpe Award on Thursday, Dec. 9th, where Pitre will be competing with Oregon’s Verone McKinley III (the other Safety named to ESPN’s All-America Team) and Cincinnati’s Coby Bryant. If he is named the winner, Pitre will join Thomas Everett (1986) as Bears who have taken the award home.
Let’s hope Jalen has a large trophy case somewhere, because it appears the honors aren’t stopping, and he still has a Sugar Bowl coming in a few weeks.