College Football’s Newest Trophy: the Paul Hornung Award

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Announced just today is the Watch List for the inaugural Paul Hornung Award that will be given annually to the most versatile player in major college football.

The award is named for Notre Dame and Green Bay Packers legend Paul Hornung, the 1956 Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 pick in the 1957 NFL draft.

He played every backfield position during his career with the Irish. He also punted, kicked, returned kicks and played defensive back and was a multi-threat offensive back and prolific kicker in the pros. In the NFL, Hornung won four championships as an all-pro halfback, leading the NFL in scoring for three consecutive years: 1959-60-61. He also set the single season scoring record in 1960 with 176 points.

Football deity and legendary Packers Coach Vince Lombardi called Hornung, “The most versatile man ever to play the game.”

By Paul M. Banks

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The Hornung Award Watch List, comprised of 48 players, was compiled by a panel of college football experts based on 2009 statistics and expectations heading into the 2010 season. The list will be updated during the course of the season based on players’ performances.

Nearly half of the players – a total of 23 – aren’t on any major college football award watch list published yet. Most candidates had a minimum of three different “touches” in 2009 – catching, running, passing, returning kicks, returning punts, holding for placements, tackling, deflecting/intercepting a pass or recovering a fumble.

In 2009, the 48 players on the list amassed a combined:
o       15,581 rushing yards and 186 TDs
o       19,808 receiving yards and 128 TDs
o       10,187 passing yards and 83 TDs
o       438 punt returns, 4,960 yards, 15 TDs; 822 KOs 21,175 yards and 28 TDs
o       360 total touchdowns and 2,174points
o       374 tackles; eight forced fumbles; 35 passes broken up
o       12 interceptions, two returned for TDs; two fumbles returned for TDs
o       Three blocked kicks

There are 25 seniors, 18 juniors and five sophomores on the list, representing all 11 conferences that are part of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Six players from the Big Ten are on the list.

Players from all FBS teams are eligible. The Selection Committee will narrow the field to approximately 10-15 Finalists at the end of the regular season in early December then will select the winner at or near the end of the bowl season in early January.

Without further ado, here’s the watch list

Douglas Beaumont, Louisville
Leon Berry, Mississippi State
Brandon Boykin, Georgia
LaVon Brazill, Ohio
Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
Tyron Carrier, Houston
Randall Cobb, Kentucky
Graig Cooper, Miami
Dwight Dasher, Middle Tennessee
Ricky Dobbs, Navy
Tandon Doss, Indiana
Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
David Gilreath, Wisconsin
Dwayne Harris, East Carolina
T.Y. Hilton, Florida International
Jerrel Jernigan, Troy
Damaris Johnson, Tulsa
Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Iowa
Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
Jeremy Kerley, TCU
Derrick Locke, Kentucky
Owen Marecic, Stanford
Doug Martin, Boise State
Keshawn Martin, Michigan State
Josh Nesbitt, Georgia Tech
James Nixon, Temple
Warren Norman, Vanderbilt
Chris Owusu, Stanford
Eric Page, Toledo
Niles Paul, Nebraska
DeVier Posey, Ohio State
Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State
Bobby Rainey, Western Kentucky
Chris Rainey, Florida
Greg Reid, Florida State
Reggie Rembert, Air Force
Dyrell Roberts, Virginia Tech
James Rodgers, Oregon St.
Jock Sanders, West Virginia
Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers
Da’Norris Searcy, North Carolina
Torrey Smith, Maryland
Shaky Smithson, Utah
Jerrard Tarrant, Georgia Tech
Daniel Thomas, Kansas State
Shane Vereen, California
Demond Washington, Auburn
Devon Wylie, Fresno State

Written by Paul M. Banks, President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and @bigtenguru

Comments

  1. hanshetrick says

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but that’s a great award. Fast, quick, sneaky,
    resourceful footballer players have been around forever – in the pros and
    in college. It’s about time the get a little love. It’s stupid that Pryor’s on it.
    Posey makes sense, but Brandon Saine is that guy for the Bucks.

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