The Paul Hornung Award

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

Foursome Combine for 61 Touches to Help Teams to Conference Wins

Louisville, Ky. – Nov. 16, 2020 – Four offensive players / return specialists who helped lead their teams to wins last week were named to the weekly Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll. Making the list are: Michael Carter, UNC; Justin Hall, Ball State; Elijah Moore, Ole Miss; and Chris Smith, Lafayette (LA).

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 honor 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.

North Carolina senior running back / return specialist Michael Carter touched the ball 18 times three different ways and scored once as the Tar Heels came from behind to beat Wake Forrest 59-53. He carried the ball 16 times for 74 yards and caught four passes for 55 yards, including a spectacular 46-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter when the Tar Heels erased a 21-point deficit.  Carter accounted for three first downs from scrimmage and returned one kickoff.

Ball State senior wide receiver / return Justin Hall touched the ball 15 times three different ways for 241 all-purpose yards as the Cardinals beat Eastern Michigan 38-31 at home on Wednesday night. Hall caught seven passes for 55 yards, carried the ball four times for 70 yards and returned four kickoffs for 116 yards. Two of his kickoff returns were to near midfield.

Ole Miss junior wide receiver Elijah Moore touched the ball 19 times for 270 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in a wild win over South Carolina, 59-42. Moore was the team’s leading receiver with 225 yards and second-leading rusher with 45 yards. He hauled in a 91-yard scoring pass early in the fourth quarter for what proved to be the winning score.

Lafayette (LA) sophomore running back / returns specialist Chris Smith touched the ball nine times three different ways for 159 all-purpose yards and a touchdown in Lafayette’s 38-10 win over South Alabama at home. He carried the ball nine times for 99 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown run in the first quarter that proved to be the winning score. Smith caught one pass for 10 yards, accounted for four first downs from scrimmage and returned two kickoffs for 49 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.