The Paul Hornung Award

Five Offensive Players/ Return Specialists Earn Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll

Honorees Combined to Touch the Ball 70 Times for 903 All-Purpose Yards, Six Scores

Louisville, Ky. – Dec. 21, 2020 – Five offensive players / return specialists were named to the weekly Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll. Making the list are: Britain Covey, Utah; Travis Etienne, Clemson; Justin Hall, Ball State; DeVonta Smith, Alabama; and Kadarius Toney, Florida.

The Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse, now in its 11th season, is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football by the Louisville Sports Commission to pay tribute to 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.

College football fans nationwide have the opportunity to vote for their favorite player during the regular season and again during the bowl season. Online fan voting powered by Texas Roadhouse is now open HERE and factors into the selection of the finalists and winner.

Utah junior wide receiver / return specialist Britain Covey touched the ball four different ways and scored once in the Utes’ 45-28 win over Washington State. Covey caught six passes for 134 yards, including a dazzling 91-yard touchdown catch to open the scoring for the Utes. He carried the ball two times, returned a kickoff 25 yards and returned three punts for 17 yards. Four of his catches went for first downs.

Clemson senior running back / return specialist Travis Etienne touched the ball three different ways for 189 all-purpose yards and a touchdown in the Tigers’ 34-10 win over Notre Dame in the ACC Championship. He carried the ball 10 times for 144 yards and seven first downs, and his 44-yard touchdown run in the closing seconds of the first half posted Clemson to a 24-3 lead. Etienne caught two passes and returned two kickoffs, including a 37-yard return to open the second half.

Ball State senior wide receiver / return specialist Justin Hall touched the ball three different ways and scored once in the Cardinals’ 38-28, come-from-behind win over Buffalo in the MAC Championship game. Hall caught five passes for 45 yards, including a nine-yard touchdown in the second quarter to tie the game. He carried the ball six times for 55 yards, including several snaps from the wildcat quarterback position, and accounted for four first downs rushing and receiving. Hall also returned one kickoff.

Alabama senior wide receiver / return specialist DeVonta Smith touched the ball three different ways for 208 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in Alabama’s 52-46 win over Florida in the SEC Championship. He caught 15 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns, including a 15-yard score in the fourth quarter that proved to be the game winner. Smith accounted for five first downs receiving, recovered a teammate’s fumble that led to a score and recovered an onside kick late in the game. He also returned a punt 20 yards.

Florida senior wide receiver/ return specialist Kadarius Toney touched the ball 15 times four different ways and scored once in the Gators’ 52-46 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship. He caught eight passes for 153 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown in the first quarter, returned two kickoffs for 41 yards, and caught a punt over his shoulder late in the game that kept Florida from being backed up inside the 10 yard line. Toney carried the ball twice for 16 yards and accounted for six first downs rushing and receiving.

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

Previous Paul Hornung Award winners by year:

  • 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.