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Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch Marshall's Chris Jackson celebrates a special team play as the Her takes on South Florida in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

HUNTINGTON - Marshall cornerback Chris Jackson is no stranger to being in the spotlight.

As a cornerback, life on the outside puts players under the microscope as to whether they can perform.

Jackson, who is headed into his fourth season as a starting cornerback for the Thundering Herd, has impressed those around the college football landscape.

On Monday morning, Jackson was named to the Watch List for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, which is given annually to college football's best defensive back.

For Jackson, the award is not his first prior to the start of the 2019 season, which begins when Marshall players report on Aug. 1.

Last week, Jackson was named to the Preseason All-Conference USA Team as a defensive back, and he represented Marshall at Conference USA Media Days, which unofficially kicked off the season.

The accolades come after a 2018 season in which Jackson was part of a stellar secondary that aided Marshall to a top-25 defense nationally.

Jackson finished the year with 61 tackles and 15 pass breakups with one interception and one fumble recovery.

In looking to 2019, Jackson will lead a secondary that will have starting experience at all four positions. Because of such, the secondary is expected to be the leaders of the Herd defense as the season gets underway.

Prior to the Conference USA Media Days in Frisco, Texas, Marshall was chosen as the favorite in the East Division, garnering 14 of 26 first-place votes. The last time that Marshall was the favorite was in 2014 when they earned the East Division title and went on to win the program's only Conference USA championship in football.

Jackson said that doing so in his senior year would be a special way to exit his career with the Herd.

"It would mean everything to me," Jackson said. "Even in high school, I've never been a champion in football - was never a state champion, coming to college. I want to win a conference championship so bad. We've been steady, working hard and this summer has been harder than ever. You just have to keep grinding because we still haven't gotten to that point. The point is to win that conference championship."

Jackson was one of five players from Conference USA named to the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Watch List on Monday. Joining Jackson were Louisiana Tech's Amik Robertson, Middle Tennessee's Reed Blankenship, Southern Miss' Ky'el Hemby and UAB's Brontae Harris.

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