The Paul Hornung Award

Four Offensive Players Lead Teams to High-Scoring Conference Wins

Three Seniors and a True Freshman Earn Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll

Louisville, Ky. – Oct. 12, 2020 – Four skill position players who double as return specialists earned the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll this past weekend by combining for 963 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns, helping their teams to wild offensive shootout wins: Auburn running back Tank Bigsby, North Carolina running back Michael Carter, Alabama wide receiver Devonta Smith and Houston wide receiver Marquez Stevenson.

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 and 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.

Auburn true freshman running back Tank Bigbsy touched the ball 28 times for 268 all-purpose yards as Auburn edged Arkansas at home, 30-28. Bigsby rushed 20 times for 146 yards, including three caries for 25 yards in the War Eagles’ winning field goal drive to end the game. Bigsby caught four passes for 16 yards, accounted for seven first downs and returned four kickoffs for 106 yards.

North Carolina senior wide receiver Michael Carter touched the ball 19 times for 254 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns as the Tar Heels won at home, 56-46 over Virginia Tech. Carter carried the ball 17 times for 214 yards, caught one pass for 16 yards and accounted for nine first downs. He scored on a 16-yard run in the third quarter and a 62-yard run in the mid-fourth quarter to ice the game.  He also returned a kickoff 22 yards.

Alabama senior wide receiver Devonta Smith touched the ball 15 times for 220 all-purpose yards and two scores as the Crimson Tide outlasted Ole Miss 63-48 in Oxford. Smith caught 13 passes for 134 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown in the first quarter, and accounted for eight first downs receiving. He scored on a 14-yard run late in the fourth quarter to extend the Tide’s lead to 56-45. He also returned two kicks for 42 yards.

Houston senior wide receiver Marquez Stevenson touched the ball seven times for 224 all-purpose yards and two scores in the Cougars’ long-awaited opener, a 49-31 home victory over Tulane. Stevenson returned a kickoff 97 yards in the third quarter for what proved to be the winning score, and added a 14-yard scoring reception in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. He had five receptions for 144 yards and one carry for eight yards.

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.

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. Online fan voting is now open HERE and factors into the selection of the finalists and winner.