Arkansas State's Clifton added to award watch lists

Thursday, August 2, 2018
ASU's defensive back Justin Clifton, seen here making a tackle against Troy last season, has been added to the Jim Thorpe Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Wuerffel Trophy watch lists for the upcoming college football season. (DT Photo/Anthony Cossey)

Clifton is one of just 35 players recognized by the organization after he compiled a stellar junior season for the Red Wolves. The Sun Belt Preseason First-Team All-Conference pick compiled 63 tackles to rank third on the team in 2017, while also collecting a career-best 13 pass break-ups and had two forced fumbles. He was the only player in the league to have 63 tackles and 13 pass break-ups.

The Tupelo, Miss., native also was posted multiple tackles in every game and accounted for at least one pass break-up in nine games. He returns for his senior season as the school’s active leader in career tackles (179), tackles for loss (18), interceptions (4), pass break-ups (19) and forced fumbles (4). Clifton, is just one of 17 NCAA FBS players in the past decade (2010-17) to compile career numbers that feature 179 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and 19 pass break-ups. He is also one of just three in the nation to compile those numbers over the last three seasons.

He ended the 2017 ranked 32nd in the nation is passes defended and registered at least a half tackle for loss in six of the Red Wolves’ 12 games. At the end of the season he was named to Phil Steele’s, Street & Smith’s, Lindy’s and Athlon Preseason First-Team All-Conference. He was also ranked as the 45th “Top Draft Eligible Strong Safety” by Phil Steele by seasons end.

Clifton had been active in several community service projects since coming to Jonesboro and has been a leader in organizing events for fellow teammates. He also participated in charity events such as a “Feed the Children” project at the 2016 AutoNation Cure Bowl as well as Special Olympics and reading programs in the Jonesboro area.

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