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57 Players Named to 2021 Paul Hornung Award Watch List

Players accounted for more than 39,000 total yards, 205 tackles and 240 touchdowns in 2020
Louisville-based Texas Roadhouse to Sponsor Award for 11th Year

Louisville, Ky. — July 29, 2021 — The Louisville Sports Commission today named 57 multi-talented college football players to the 2021 Watch List for the Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse.

The Paul Hornung Award, now in its 12th season, is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football by the Louisville Sports Commission in the memory of the late football legend and Louisville native Paul Hornung. The winner and his family will be honored at the annual Paul Hornung Award dinner at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville in March 2021.

The 2021 Watch List players represent 53 universities from all 10 football conferences, plus four independent schools, that are part of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. The SEC leads the conferences with nine players; the Big Ten and Big 12 each landed eight players; C-USA, Mountain West and Pac 12 each have five players; the AAC and ACC have four; and the MAC and Sun Belt have three each. Independents Army, BYU, Liberty and Notre Dame each have one player on the list.

The Paul Hornung Award has created an impressive legacy in 11 years including seven winners who were first round NFL draft picks – DeVonta Smith, Tavon Austin, Odell Beckham Jr., Shaq Thompson, Christian McCaffrey, Jabrill Peppers and Saquon Barkley.

In 2020, players on the Watch List accounted for more than 39,000 total yards. 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 240 total touchdowns in five different ways – 105 rushing, 112 receiving, two passing, 16 returning kickoffs and five retuning punts.

“We created this award as a way to reward college players who selflessly take on the burden of playing multiple positions, and excel at a high level the way Paul Hornung did for Notre Dame and the Green Bay Packers,” said Karl Schmitt Jr., president and CEO of the Louisville Sports Commission, owners and operators of the Award. “In addition, we wanted to introduce young players to the legacy of Hornung, who said he would do anything his coach asked of him to help his team win games.”

Hornung, who passed away in his hometown at age 84 on Nov. 13, 2020, played every position in the offensive backfield during his career with the Irish in the 1950s and also played defensive safety, punted, placekicked and returned kickoffs. He was named All-America at quarterback as a senior and won the Heisman Trophy in 1956, then was the first player selected in the NFL draft, going to Green Bay. He earned NFL MVP honors for the Packers in 1961 as a triple-threat halfback and placekicker by setting a single-season NFL scoring record that stood for 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 2021 Watch List was compiled by a panel of college football experts based on a combination of 2020 statistics, career performance, SID recommendations and expectations heading into the 2021 season. In addition to the Watch List, the Paul Hornung Award Weekly Honor Roll will recognize players whose performances during the regular season meet the Award’s criteria. Players from both the Watch List and the Honor Roll will be eligible to win the Award.

2021 Watch List Selections

Jacob Adams, Louisiana Tech
Tyler Allgeier, BYU
Tyler Badie, Missouri
Jake Bailey, Rice
Tank Bigsby, Auburn
Phillip Brooks, Kansas State
Jermaine Brown Jr., UAB
Jordan Byrd, San Diego State
Tyleek Collins, UNLV
Britain Covey, Utah
Aron Cruickshank, Rutgers
Derius Davis, TCU
Nathaniel Dell, Houston
Jahan Dotson, Penn State
Romeo Doubs, Nevada
Demario Douglas, Liberty
Jerrion Ealy, Ole Miss
Tresten Ebner, Baylor
Jahmyr Gibbs, Georgia Tech
Danny Gray, Southern Methodist
Donavon Greene, Wake Forest
Justin Hall, Ball State
Travell Harris, Washington State
Connor Heyward, MSU
Khaleb Hood, Georgia Southern
Jha’Quan Jackson, Tulane
D’Shawn Jamison, Texas
Cam Johnson, Vandy
Jeshaun Jones, Maryland
Velus Jones Jr., Tennessee
Zonovan Knight, NC State
Jaylan Knighton, Miami
Kenny Logan Jr., Kansas
DJ Matthews, Indiana
Marvin Mims, Oklahoma
Kyle Philips, UCLA
Kalil Pimpleton, Central Michigan
Myles Price, Texas Tech
Clint Ratkovich, Northern Illinois
Jayden Reed, Michigan State
Nikko Remigio, Cal
Ronnie Rivers, Fresno State
Stephon Robinson Jr., Northwestern
Tyrell Robinson, Army
Wandale Robinson, Kentucky
Ainias Smith, Texas A&M
Chris Smith, Louisiana Lafayette
Tyler Snead, East Carolina
Caleb Spurlin, Appalachian State
Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
Keylon Stokes, Tulsa
Deandre Torrey, North Texas
Calvin Turner Jr., Hawaii
Kyren Williams, Notre Dame
Garret Wilson, Ohio State
Mykael Wright, Oregon
Winston Wright Jr., West Virginia

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 regular 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 www.paulhornungaward.com. Fans also can follow online on Twitter (@hornungaward) and Become a Fan on Facebook.

Previous Paul Hornung Award winners by year:

• 2020: DeVonta Smith of Alabama topped the nation in receiving yards and yards after catch, and averaged 24 yards per punt return leading the Crimson Tide to the national championship. He score touchdowns rushing, receiving and returning punts and was a gunner on punt coverage.
• 2019: Lynn Bowden Jr. of Kentucky made the move from all-purpose receiver/wildcat quarterback/return specialist to quarterback in mid-season and led the Wildcats to a 5-2 record and Belk Bowl win over Virginia Tech.
• 2018: Rondale Moore of Purdue was a dynamic All-American freshman sensation who broke the school record for all-purpose yards in a season and a game with 2,215 and 313, respectively.
• 2017: Saquon Barkley of Penn State was an electrifying All-American running back who lined up at slot and wildcat quarterback, and returned kicks and punts;
• 2016: Jabrill Peppers of Michigan played 15 different positions on defense, offense and special teams, and earned first team All-America at linebacker;
• 2015: Christian McCaffrey of Stanford was a workhorse on offense and special teams who broke the NCAA record for all-purpose yards, finishing with 3,864;
• 2014: Shaq Thompson of Washington was a two-way player, earning first team All-American honors at linebacker and finished as the Husky’s second-leading rusher at tailback;
• 2013: Odell Beckham Jr. of LSU finished 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 earned All-American by scoring 17 touchdowns receiving, rushing, returning kicks and punts; and amassing 2,272 all-purpose yards, including 572 yards versus Oklahoma.
• 2011: Brandon Boykin of Georgia was a lockdown cornerback on defense; scored three touchdowns playing quarterback, running back and slot on offense; and led the SEC in punt and kick returns.
• 2010: Owen Marecic of Stanford was a two-way starter who averaged 110 snaps per game and earned first team All Pac-10 at fullback and honorable mention at linebacker.

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

• Ameer Abdullah* RB; Nebraska / Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings
• 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, Green Bay Packers
• Saquon Barkley* RB; Penn State / New York Giants
• Odell Beckham Jr* WR; LSU / New York Giants, Cleveland Browns
• Lynn Bowden, Jr.* WR; Kentucky / Miami Dolphins
• Brandon Boykin CB; Georgia / Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens
• Randall Cobb* WR; Kentucky / Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans
• D’Wayne Eskridge* WR; North Carolina / Seattle Seahawks
• Travis Etienne* RB; Clemson / Jacksonville Jaguars
• Clyde Edwards-Helaire* RB; LSU / Kansas City Chiefs
• Marcus Green WR; Louisiana-Monroe / Philadelphia Eagles
• Marion Grice RB; Arizona State / Arizona Cardinals
• KJ Hamler WR; Penn State / Denver Broncos
• N’Keal Harry* WR; Arizona State / New England Patriots
• 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
• Jeremy Kerley WR; TCU / San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills
• Joel Lanning LB; Iowa State / Dallas Cowboys
• Marqise Lee* WR; USC / Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots
• 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, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints
• Marcus Murphy RB; Missouri / New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers
• Robert Nkemdiche* DL; Ole Miss / Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks
• Jabrill Peppers* DB; Michigan / Cleveland Browns, New York Giants
• Dante Pettis* WR; Washington / San Francisco 49ers
• Joe Reed* WR; Virginia / Los Angeles Chargers
• DeVonta Smith* WR; Alabama / Philadelphia Eagles
• Shaq Thompson* LB; Washington / Carolina Panthers
• Kadarius Toney* WR; Florida / New York Giants
• 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 partner 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.