OKLAHOMA CITY — Multi-talented Pawhuska Huskie senior Zalin Edwards was one of a select few prep athletes chosen to attend the Jim Thorpe Award Banquet held last week at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
The featured honoree at the Tuesday, Feb. 4, event was Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State University. Dennard is the 2013 recipient of the Jim Thorpe Award, presented annually since 1986 to the best defensive back in college football. Dennard, a 5- foot-11, 197-pound senior, was named the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors for the second year in a row.
Edwards was one of a handful of Oklahoma student athletes selected to receive college scholarships from the Jim Thorpe Association, a non-profit organization that sponsors the collegiate award. He attended the banquet along with his parents, Brian and Cindee Edwards, and PHS head football coach Bob Craig.
A four-year varsity football starter, Edwards played receiver and defensive back in two state championship games with Fairfax — where he won a Class A title as a freshman and placed runnerup in his sophomore year. Since moving to Pawhuska two years ago, Edwards has starred for the Huskies in football, wrestling and baseball.
Edwards played wide receiver, quarterback and defensive back for the Huskies, while also punting and returning kicks. As a junior, he was named all-district at defensive back. He earned District 2A-7 gridiron honors at quarterback this season by racking up 17 passing touchdowns and 11 more as a runner.
In addition, Edwards has been a qualifier to the state wrestling tournament, and is an all-positions standout on the baseball diamond. Shortly after arrival in Pawhuska, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound phenom earned a team steer roping title at the annual Cavalcade rodeo competition. He also is a National Honor Society member for his performance in the classroom.
Jim Thorpe, the legendary athlete for whom the award is named, was born in 1887 near Prague in Oklahoma Territory. He excelled in all areas of athletic competition as a student at Carlisle Indian Academy. Thorpe was voted to three football All-America teams and made track-and-field history at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. He went on to successful professional careers in football, basketball and baseball.