Virginia Tech junior cornerback Jayron Hosley has been named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to college football’s top defensive back. A year after snagging a national-best nine interceptions, Hosley leads the Hokies with three picks this year.

Hosley also has 31 tackles and six pass break-ups in eight games this season, as Virginia Tech’s defensive coaches have shifted him all over the defensive backfield depending on what opposing receiver is playing the best.

Hosley was one of three defensive backs from the ACC to be named a semifinalist. He was joined by Virginia’s Chase Minnifield and North Carolina State’s David Amerson.

Hosley returned from a left hamstring injury Saturday at Duke and had an uneven afternoon, drawing two pass-interference penalties that helped the Blue Devils score their only touchdown. But when completely healthy, the Delray Beach, Fla., native has made throwing against the Hokies difficult.

It was Hosley’s counterpart at cornerback, sophomore Kyle Fuller, who stole the spotlight this week. In addition to a game-saving fourth-down tackle of Duke quarterback Sean Renfree, Fuller graded out higher than any other defensive player when the coaches reviewed the game film.

Hosley said the Hokies’ bye week would help him improve after missing almost two games, and Coach Frank Beamer agreed. Though he’s more than happy to have the extra time to prepare for Georgia Tech’s unique triple-option offense, Beamer also hopes the 10 days that remain before the Nov. 10 showdown in Atlanta will help rejuvenate the Hokies.

“It’s been a grind, just every week it seemed like something [was] a grind for us, for players and coaches,” said Beamer, whose team has lost five significant contributors to season-ending injuries thus far. “So I think a little rest mentally and physically is gonna be good for this football team.”

Virginia Tech heads into the bye week at No. 12 in both the latest BCS rankings and AP poll. The Hokies jumped up to No. 11 in the coaches’ poll, one spot ahead of No. 12 Clemson. Georgia Tech re-entered the AP rankings at No. 22 after upsetting the Tigers this weekend. As a result, the winner of the game between the Hokies (4-1 in ACC play) and Yellow Jackets (4-2) will assume control of the ACC’s Coastal Division.