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43 Players Named to 2018 Paul Hornung Award Watch List

Players accounted for more than 47,000 all-purpose yards, 294 tackles and 229 TDs in 2017

Louisville-based Texas Roadhouse to Sponsor Award for Eighth Year

Louisville, Ky. — July 26, 2018 — The Louisville Sports Commission today named 43 multi-talented college football players to the 2018 Watch List for the Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse.

The Paul Hornung Award, now in its ninth season, is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football by the Louisville Sports Commission and football legend and Louisville native Paul Hornung. The winner and his family will be honored at the annual Paul Hornung Award dinner presented by Jewish Hospital Sports Medicine, to be held at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville in March 2019. This will be The Paul Hornung Award’s third year as an associate member of the National College Football Awards Association.

The Paul Hornung Award has an impressive legacy. Saquon Barkley, the 2017 Paul Hornung Award winner, was the second pick in the 2018 NFL Draft; the three 2017 finalists also are currently on NFL rosters. The six most-recent winners, including Barkley, were NFL first round draft picks in their respective years.

“Due to the leadership and hard work of the Louisville Sports Commission, the award created in my name has come a long way in a short time,” said Paul Hornung, the 1956 Heisman Trophy winner who played every position in the offensive backfield during his Notre Dame career and was a triple threat halfback and placekicker for the title town Green Bay Packers of the early 1960s. “We’ve selected outstanding college players, many who have gone on to do extremely well in the NFL. I’m pleased that we are able to acknowledge outstanding players who contribute any way possible to help their teams win, the same way I did.”

Hornung, who maintains an office in downtown Louisville, earned NFL MVP honors for the Packers in 1961 by setting a single-season NFL scoring record that stood 46 years. He is a member of the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, and Vince Lombardi once called him, “The most versatile man ever to play the game.”

The 2018 Watch List is comprised of 14 seniors, 19 juniors and 10 sophomores who play a total of 10 different positions. They represent 43 universities in 27 states coast-to-coast across the 10 conferences that are part of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), as well as three independent schools. The ACC leads the conferences with six players, followed by the Big Ten and the SEC with five players each.

Players on this year’s Watch List accounted for 11,109 rushing yards, 14,601 receiving yards, 19,281 kickoff return yards, 2,861 punt return yards and 294 total tackles in 2017. Reminiscent of Hornung during his playing days, members of the Watch List demonstrated a knack for scoring numerous ways. Last season the Watch List players combined for 229 total touchdowns in six different ways – rushing; receiving; passing; and returning punts, kickoffs and interceptions.

The 2018 Watch List was compiled by a panel of college football experts based on a combination of 2017 statistics, career performance, SID recommendations, and expectations heading into the 2018 season. Information about the Award can be found at Players will be added to the Watch List during the 2018 regular season based on performance.

2018 Watch List Selections

Lynn Bowden, Jr., Kentucky
Tony Brooks-James, Oregon
Brittain Brown, Duke
Shun Brown, Arizona
Parris Campbell, Ohio State
Andrew Clair, Bowling Green
Ashtyn Davis, Cal
Keion Davis, Marshall
Trevon Diggs, Alabama
Greg Dortch, Wake Forest
Malik Dunner, Ball State
Kaden Elliss, Idaho
Marcus Green, Louisiana-Monroe
Mecole Hardman, Georgia
Isaiah Harper, Old Dominion
N’Keal Harry, Arizona State
Darnay Holmes, UCLA
Jason Huntley, New Mexico State
Andy Isabella, UMass
Ty Johnson, Maryland
Diontae Johnson, Toledo
Marcus Jones, Troy
Austin Kafentzis, BYU
McLane Mannix, Nevada
Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan
Malcolm Perry, Navy
Tony Pollard, Memphis
Anthony Ratliff-Williams, UNC
Joe Reed, Virginia
Sean Riley, Syracuse
Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
Marcus Simms, West Virginia
Kelvin Smith, North Texas
Rodney Smith, Minnesota
JD Spielman, Nebraska
Deddrick Thomas, Mississippi State
KaVontae Turpin, TCU
Kell Walker, Army
Michael Walker, Boston College
Juwan Washington, San Diego State
Braeden West, SMU
Avery Williams, Boise State
Isaiah Wright, Temple

The Louisville Sports Commission successfully launched the Paul Hornung Award in 2010 to honor its namesake and native son, and to promote outstanding performances by versatile college football players who often go unnoticed. Each week during the season, a panel of college football experts selects players for the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll based on performance. A national selection committee comprised of 17 sports journalists and former NFL stars votes for the Hornung Award finalists and the winner, with fan voting powered by Texas Roadhouse comprising the 18th vote. Regional accounting firm Dean Dorton independently tabulates all votes. For more information, visit Fans can also follow online on Twitter (@hornungaward) and Become a Fan on Facebook.

Previous Paul Hornung Award winners by year:

  • 2017: Saquon Barkley of Penn State won the award as an electrifying All-American running back who lined up at slot and wildcat quarterback, and returned kicks and punts;
  • 2016: Jabrill Peppers of Michigan won the award by playing 15 different positions on defense, offense and special teams, and earning first team All-America at linebacker;
  • 2015: Christian McCaffrey of Stanford won the award after breaking the NCAA record for all-purpose yards, finishing with 3,864;
  • 2014: Shaq Thompson of Washington won the award as a two-way player, earning first team All-American honors at linebacker and finishing as the Husky’s second-leading rusher at tailback;
  • 2013: Odell Beckham Jr. of LSU won the award after finishing the season ranked second in the nation and first in the Southeastern Conference with 2,222 all-purpose yards and 185.2 average yards per game;
  • 2012: Tavon Austin of West Virginia won the award as one of two players in the nation with more than 500 yards in three different categories (rushing, receiving and kick returns);
  • 2011: Brandon Boykin of Georgia won the award after excelling on defense, offense and special teams; and
  • 2010: Owen Marecic of Stanford won the inaugural Paul Hornung Award as a two-way starter and All Pac-10 performer at fullback and linebacker.

Below are past winners and finalists who have made their mark in the NFL:

  • Ameer Abdullah* RB; Nebraska / Detroit Lions
  • Joe Adams WR; Arkansas / Carolina Panthers
  • Antonio Andrews WR; Western Kentucky / Tennessee Titans
  • Dri Archer RB; Kent State / Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Tavon Austin* RB; West Virginia / St. Louis, Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Cowboys
  • Saquon Barkley* RB; Penn State / New York Giants
  • Odell Beckham Jr* WR; LSU / New York Giants
  • Brandon Boykin CB; Georgia / Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens
  • Randall Cobb* WR; Kentucky / Green Bay Packers
  • Marion Grice RB; Arizona State / Arizona Cardinals
  • Nyheim Hines* RB; NC State / Indianapolis Colts
  • Myles Jack* LB; UCLA / Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Adoree’ Jackson* CB; USC / Tennessee Titans
  • LaMichael James RB; Oregon / Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills
  • Jeremy Kerley* WR; TCU / San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets
  • Joel Lanning* LB; Iowa State / Dallas Cowboys
  • Marqise Lee* WR; USC / Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Johnny Manziel QB; Texas A&M / Cleveland Browns
  • Owen Marecic DB; Stanford / Cleveland Browns
  • Christian McCaffrey* RB; Stanford / Carolina Panthers
  • Ty Montgomery* RB; Stanford / Green Bay Packers
  • Marcus Murphy RB; Missouri / New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills
  • Robert Nkemdiche* DL; Ole Miss / Arizona Cardinals
  • Jabrill Peppers* DB; Michigan / Cleveland Browns
  • Dante Pettis* WR; Washington / San Francisco 49ers
  • Shaq Thompson* LB; Washington / Carolina Panthers
  • Dede Westbrook* WR; Oklahoma / Jacksonville Jaguars

*Currently active in NFL

Texas Roadhouse signed on as presenting sponsor of the Paul Hornung Award in 2011 and will team with the Louisville Sports Commission to power fan voting again this season. College football fans nationwide will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite player during the regular season and again during the bowl season. Fan voting will open in late September and factor into the selection of the finalists and winner.