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Colorado’s Travis Hunter Named 2023 Paul Hornung Award Winner

Award for Most Versatile Player in Major College Football Presented by Texas Roadhouse

Louisville, Ky. – Dec. 6, 2023 – Colorado sophomore cornerback / wide receiver Travis Hunter, an impact athlete who finished the regular season as the most prolific two-way player in FBS by averaging 119 snaps per game, was named winner of the 2023 Paul Hornung Award given annually to the most versatile player in major college football.

The Award, presented by Texas Roadhouse, is owned and operated by the Louisville Sports Commission (LSC). LSC President and CEO Greg Fante made the announcement today.

The Paul Hornung Award Selection Committee, comprised of 17 sports journalists and football experts from across the country, picked Hunter from among the three finalists announced on Nov. 16. An online vote powered by Texas Roadhouse accounted for the 18th vote.  Hunter and his family will be honored at the annual Paul Hornung Award ceremony on Mar. 8, 2024, at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville. For tickets, contact Julie Howell at 502-587-6742 or

The 14th winner of the Paul Hornung Award and the fifth from the Pac-12, Hunter played five positions on defense where he averaged 66 snaps per game; he also played four skill positions on offense where he played 50 snaps per game. Despite missing three games due to injury, on offense Hunter finished second on the team with 57 receptions for 721 yards and five touchdowns; on defense, he tied for the team lead with three interceptions, recorded 31 tackles, led the team with five pass deflections and had two tackles for loss.  He also played substantial time on special teams.

“I want to thank the Louisville Sports Commission for this Award,” Travis Hunter said. “Paul Hornung accomplished great things that I also want to accomplish, and to be given the award in his name is truly amazing.  I’d like to thank all my teammates for their support and Coach Prime for the opportunity to play both ways and do whatever I can to help the Colorado Buffaloes.”

Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders was effusive in his praise for Hunter. “Travis is a special player, a generational player, who has changed the game,” said Colorado Head Coach Sanders. “We had to find ways to utilize him to the best of his ability on both sides of the ball, where he could utilize his strengths and be a force. Thank you to the Selection Committee for seeing in Travis what we do, not only that he’s a tremendous player, but also a tremendous person. Travis hasn’t reached his full potential as of yet and his best is still to come.”

Primarily a wide corner, in several games this season Hunter was a standout on both sides of the ball. Against TCU, he caught 11 passes for 119 yards and made a key interception. Against Stanford, he played 154 snaps, caught 13 passes and made five tackles. He played 126 snaps versus Oregon, caught eight passes and made two tackles and deflected a pass. Against UCLA, he played 105 snaps, made two interceptions and had three receptions. Against Arizona, he caught five passes, made six tackles and had one pass breakup. In the season finale, in a tough road loss to Utah, Hunter played 103 snaps; on offense, he caught eight passes for 107 yards and a score; on defense, he made four tackles, including a tackle for loss.

Season Stats:

  • All-purpose: 711 yards, 79.0 per game
  • Receiving: 57 receptions, 721 yards, five touchdowns
  • Touchdowns: Five
  • Defensive stats
    • 31 tackles (23 solo, eight assisted)
    • Two tackles for loss
    • Three interceptions, -10 return yards
    • Five pass breakups
  • Average snaps per game: 119.2 (one at fullback, four at tight end, 275 at slot wide receiver, 172 at wide receiver, 42 at linebacker, 11 at slot cornerback, 539 at wide cornerback, one at free safety, one on kick coverage, one on kick return, four on punt return, 22 on field goal/extra point)

All votes for the Paul Hornung Award are independently tabulated by regional accounting firm Dean Dorton, one of the largest accounting and financial advisory firms in Kentucky, with offices in Louisville and Lexington, Ky., and Raleigh, N.C.

The Louisville Sports Commission successfully launched the Paul Hornung Award in 2010 to honor its namesake and native son, who passed away in 2020, and to promote outstanding performances by versatile college football players who often go unnoticed.

Previous Paul Hornung Award winners by year:

  • 2022: Jack Colletto of Oregon State played fullback, quarterback and receiver on offense; linebacker and defensive back on defense; and was on all special teams. He scored six touchdowns rushing, completed two passes, made 28 tackles, caused a fumble and recovered a fumble.
  • 2021: Marcus Jones of Houston was an All-American return specialist and lockdown corner who saw duty on offense. He recorded 48 tackles and five interceptions; returned a pair of kickoffs and punts for touchdowns; and caught 10 passes for 109 yards.
  • 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 scored 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 midseason 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, Las Vegas Raiders
  • Joe Adams WR; Arkansas / Carolina Panthers
  • Antonio Andrews RB; Western Kentucky / Tennessee Titans
  • Dri Archer RB; Kent State / Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Tavon Austin WR; West Virginia / St. Louis, Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Cowboys RB, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Saquon Barkley* RB; Penn State / New York Giants
  • Odell Beckham Jr* WR; LSU / New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, Baltimore Ravens
  • Lynn Bowden, Jr.* WR; Kentucky / Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints
  • Brandon Boykin CB/DB; Georgia / Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers, Baltimore Ravens
  • Randall Cobb* WR; Kentucky / Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, New York Jets
  • D’Wayne Eskridge* WR; Western Michigan / Seattle Seahawks
  • Travis Etienne* RB; Clemson / Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire* RB; LSU / Kansas City Chiefs
  • Jahmyr Gibbs* RB; Alabama / Detroit Lions
  • Marcus Green WR; Louisiana-Monroe / Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Marion Grice RB; Arizona State / San Diego, Los Angeles Chargers, Arizona Cardinals
  • Justin Hall WR; Ball State / Las Vegas Raiders
  • KJ Hamler* WR; Penn State / Denver Broncos / Indianapolis Colts
  • N’Keal Harry* WR; Arizona State / New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings
  • Nyheim Hines* RB; NC State / Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills
  • Myles Jack* ILB; UCLA / Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Adoree’ Jackson* CB; USC / Tennessee Titans, New York Giants
  • LaMichael James RB; Oregon / Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers
  • Marcus Jones*, CB; Houston / New England Patriots
  • Jeremy Kerley WR; TCU / New York Jets, Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills
  • Joel Lanning LB; Iowa State / Dallas Cowboys
  • Marqise Lee WR; USC / Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers
  • Johnny Manziel QB; Texas A&M / Cleveland Browns
  • Owen Marecic DB/RB; Stanford / Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers
  • Christian McCaffrey* RB; Stanford / Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers
  • Ty Montgomery* RB/WR; Stanford / Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots
  • Rondale Moore* WR; Purdue / Arizona Cardinals
  • Marcus Murphy RB; Missouri / New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers
  • Robert Nkemdiche DT; Ole Miss / Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers
  • Jabrill Peppers* DB/FS; Michigan / Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, New England Patriots
  • Dante Pettis* WR; Washington / San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, Chicago Bears
  • Jayden Reed* WR; Michigan State / Green Bay Packers
  • Joe Reed* WR; Virginia / Los Angeles Chargers, Chicago Bears
  • DeVonta Smith* WR; Alabama / Philadelphia Eagles
  • Shaq Thompson* LB; Washington / Carolina Panthers
  • Kadarius Toney* WR; Florida / New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Dede Westbrook WR; Oklahoma / Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings
  • Kyren Williams* RB; Notre Dame / Los Angeles Rams


*Currently active in NFL