2017 WINNER – SAQUON BARKLEY (Penn State)
Penn State third-year junior Saquon Barkley, the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, Running Back of the Year, and Special Teams Player of the Year, was named winner of the eighth annual Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse. The Louisville Sports Commission and Paul Hornung present the Award to the most versatile player in major college football.
“It is an honor to win an award like the Paul Hornung Award for the most versatile playerin college football,” Saquon Barkley said. “I am so appreciative of Mr. Hornung and the Louisville Sports Commission for selecting me for this very special honor. I have to give a lot of the credit to my teammates and coaches, they are the reason that I am in position to win this award and I could not have done it without them. I also want to thank our amazing fans at Penn State. We Are!”
“I am thrilled for Saquon to join this elite list of Paul Hornung Award winners,” said Penn State Head Coach James Franklin. “I couldn’t be more proud of Saquon and everything he has accomplished at Penn State. In my 22 years of coaching, I have never coached or seen a player who can affect the game the way Saquon Barkley does. The Hornung Award is not only honoring the most versatile player in college football, but is also recognizing one of the best people in college football.”
“Saquon Barkley has the skills and determination to impact games from several positions,” Paul Hornung said. “He is a team player who performs at the highest level in big games and a fantastic addition to our list of Paul Hornung Award recipients.”
Barkley is finalist for the Maxwell Award for college player of the year, the Walter Camp Player of the Year, and the Doak Walker Award for the nation’s top running back.
Barkley was chosen as the Paul Hornung Award winner from among four finalists by a 17-member national selection committee comprised of sports journalists, coaches, and retired NFL players; online fan voting accounted for the 18th vote. All votes were independently tabulated by regional accounting firm Dean Dorton, one of the largest accounting and advisory firms in Kentucky, with offices in Louisville and Lexington.
Barkley by the Numbers
Primarily a running back who also lined up at slot receiver, wildcat quarterback, and returned kicks, Barkley is second in the nation in all-purpose yards with 179.5 per game and accounted for 263 touches, 2,190 yards, and 22 touchdowns four different ways – rushing (16), receiving (three), kickoff return (two), and passing (one). He is the second player in Big Ten history to win three major conference awards, joining last year’s Paul Hornung Award winner, Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers (Defensive Player of the Year, Linebacker of the Year, Return Specialist of the Year).
A breakaway threat, Barkley is one of five players in FBS this year with all-purpose touchdowns longer than 80 yards – 98-yard and 97-yard kickoff returns, an 85-yard reception, and an 81-yard run from scrimmage. He has 1,134 rushing yards (5.7 average per carry), 594 receiving yards (12.6 average) and 426 return yards (28.4 average) and is no. 5 nationally in total touchdowns (21), no. 7 in scoring per game (10.5), and no. 10 in rushing touchdowns (16). His six Big Ten Player of the Week awards (four on offense, two on special teams) are the most in a single season in conference history, and he is the first running back and third player overall to win Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year twice, joining Braxton Miller (Ohio State 2012, 2013), and Drew Brees (Purdue 1998, 2000).
Barkley recorded 200+ all-purpose yards in five games this season and set a Penn State record with 358 all-purpose yards on 43 touches in a last-second win at Iowa. He returned opening kickoffs for touchdowns against Indiana and Ohio State, and scored three touchdowns against Michigan. By mid-season, opponent defenses were keying in on Barkley with one or two players on every down, often opening avenues for the Nittany Lions other offensive threats that enabled Penn State to finish the season 10-2 and no. 9 in the national rankings.
Click here to view all photos from the 2018 Paul Hornung Award Banquet
Chosen as finalists were Nyheim Hines (NC State), Joel Lanning (Iowa State), and Dante Pettis (Washington).
Running Back / Return Specialist
Junior, NC State Wolfpack (6-3, 4-1 conference)
Hines was a workhorse out of the backfield who also returned punts, kickoffs, and was gunner on punt coverage. He accounted for 217 all-purpose yards, two touchdowns, a two-point conversion, and downed a punt on the two-yard line in a home win over Louisville; came back the next week with 249 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns, and downed a punt inside the 5-yard line in a road win over Pitt.
Rushing: 126 carries, 688 yards, six touchdowns
Receiving: 18 receptions, 94 yards
Punt Return: eight returns, 148 yards, one touchdown
Kick Return: 17 returns, 377 yards
Iowa State, Linebacker / Quarterback
Senior, Iowa State Cyclones (6-3, 4-2 conference)
The starting middle linebacker who played spot duty at quarterback and was a regular on special teams, Lanning was the Cyclones’ leading tackler with 10.4 tackles per game, the team’s third-leading rusher with 77 yards, three-of-three on fourth down conversion rushing, and two-of-three passing for 25 yards. Lanning was the ironman when the Cyclones stunned Oklahoma in Norman: 57 plays on defense with eight tackles, a tackle for loss, a sack, and a fumble recovery; 13 plays at quarterback with eight rushes for 35 yards and two passes for 25 yards; eight plays on special teams. His 10.4 tackles per game ranked second in the Big 12 and ninth in FBS.
Defense: 94 total tackles, 36 solo tackles, 2.5 sacks (20 yards), 6.5 tackles for loss (29 yards), one interception, one fumble recovery, two quarterback hurries, two PPUs
Rushing: 23 carries, 77 yards
Passing: three attempts, two completions, 25 yards
Wide receiver / Return specialist
Junior, Washington Huskies (8-1, 5-1 conference)
Pettis was a dual threat wide-out / return specialist who tied the NCAA record by returning a punt for a touchdown in three consecutive games (Rutgers, Montana, Fresno State) and added a fourth punt return touchdown and a scoring reception in the no. 8-ranked Huskies win over Oregon. Pettis averaged an astounding 21.7 yards per punt return, nearly 12 yards per reception and completed his only pass of the season for 36 yards. He also holds the NCAA career record with nine punt returns for touchdowns.
Receiving: 49 receptions, 571 yards, seven touchdowns
Punt Return: 19 returns, 412 yards, four touchdowns
Passing: one attempt, one completion, 36 yards