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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: February 8, 2010

Sen. Debbe Leftwich poses with 2009 Jim Thorpe award recipient  Eric Berry.
Sen. Debbe Leftwich poses with 2009 Jim Thorpe Award recipient Eric Berry.

2009 Jim Thorpe Award winner Eric Berry addresses the State Senate alongside Sen. Debbe Leftwich.
2009 Jim Thorpe Award winner Eric Berry addresses the State Senate alongside
Sen. Debbe Leftwich.

2009 Jim Thorpe Winner Honored in Senate

The Oklahoma State Senate honored the 2009 Jim Thorpe Award winner Eric Berry Monday. The Senate unanimously approved Senate Resolution 81 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich, recognizing and commending the standout safety from the University of Tennessee.

“Eric is a tremendous young man of great character whose talents and accomplishments are obvious both on and off the field,” said Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City. “He has a great future ahead of him, and we wish him the best as he enters the National Football League draft this year.”

Berry won in the most one-sided vote in the history of the Jim Thorpe award. He currently leads all NCAA players in total interceptions, interceptions per game, interception return yards, and interceptions returned for touchdowns. After the reading of the resolution, Berry addressed the Senate.

“I want to start off by telling everyone how much I appreciate this. It’s truly an honor for you to welcome me into your state,” said Berry. “It’s a blessing to receive this. I also want to thank you for the hospitality and everything you’ve given me and my family.”

As a freshman in college, he intercepted five passes for 222 yards and was a unanimous Freshman All-American, the SEC Freshman Defensive Player of the Year, and was on the All-SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll.

As a sophomore, he was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 and a Consensus All-American. He intercepted seven passes for 265 yards.

During his junior year, he had two interceptions, 83 tackles, and two fumble returns. He was selected as the Volunteers’ Team Captain and was also named to Team of the Decade and to the Sports Illustrated 2000’s All-Decade Team.

Berry’s talents were apparent even in high school where he played cornerback and quarterback for Creekside High School in his hometown of Fairburn, Georgia and was named a Parade All-America. The National Honor Society member also excelled in track, setting school records in the long jump, was state champion in the 200-meter, and anchored the state title 4x400 relay squad.

After the presentation, Senate Majority Floor Leader encouraged members to attend the Jim Thorpe ceremony and applauded the Jim Thorpe Association for shining a spotlight on such outstanding student-athletes as Eric Berry.

“Every year, I’ve gone (to the ceremony) I’ve regretted not taking my son because the Jim Thorpe Association does an incredible job of finding not just talent on the field but men of character and morality and an example we want our sons to emulate and our daughters to find in the future,” said Lamb, R-Edmond.

For more information contact:
Sen. Leftwich: 405-521-5557

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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