Four Players from Pac 12, Big 10 and Big 12 named Finalists for the 7th Annual Paul Hornung Award
Winner and Two Finalists from 2015 Make the List Again Along with One Newcomer
Louisville, Ky. – Thursday, November 17, 2016 – Two defensive stars who also return kicks and spot play on offense, and a pair of prolific playmakers who play offense and return kicks have been named finalists for the seventh annual Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse and given annually to the most versatile player in major college football.
Chosen as finalists are defensive back Adoree’ Jackson (Southern Cal), linebacker / defensive back Jabrill Peppers (Michigan), running back / receiver Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) and wide receiver Dede Westbrook (Oklahoma).
McCaffrey, Peppers and Jackson were finalists in 2015, and McCaffrey won the award after setting an NCAA single season record for all-purpose yards.
The announcement was made today by the Louisville Sports Commission, owners and operators of the Award, along with football legend and Louisville native Paul Hornung. The 16-person Paul Hornung Award National Selection Committee chose the finalists, with fans generating the 17th vote online. The 2016 Paul Hornung Award winner will be chosen from among the finalists and announced Wednesday, Dec. 7.
Fan voting for the winner opens today at www.paulhornungaward.com and will count as the 17th vote. Fans can vote once every 24 hours for their favorite among the four finalists.
“This group of players is high on quality,” Hornung said. “We’ve developed an exclusive fraternity of Paul Hornung Award winners, and any of this year’s finalists would be a welcome addition to our group.”
Nicknamed The Golden Boy, Hornung was a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at Notre Dame in 1956 and the NFL’s Most Valuable Player with the Green Bay Packers whose versatility earned him enshrinement in both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame. At Notre Dame, Hornung played every position in the offensive backfield, handled punting and placekicking duties, returned kickoffs and started at safety on defense. He set an NFL single-season scoring record for the champion Green Bay Packers in 1961 that stood for 46 years.
The skills of the Paul Hornung Award finalists will be on display the remainder of the season as Michigan and Southern Cal vie for spots in their conference championship games, and Oklahoma is two wins away from a perfect Big 12 conference record. USC closes out the season against rivals UCLA and Notre Dame at home; Michigan hosts Indiana then travels to rival Ohio State; Oklahoma travels to West Virginia and hosts Oklahoma State; and Stanford plays rival Cal in the Big Game then hosts Rice.
Brief Bios on the Four Finalists for 2016 Paul Hornung Award
Adoree’ Jackson, Cornerback / Kick Returns / Running Back / Wide Receiver
Junior, USC Trojans (7-3, 6-2 conference)
Jackson is a big play, lockdown cornerback who made circus catches on interceptions, spectacular plays returning punts and kicks, and influenced the game in spot play in the offensive backfield. He made two key interceptions in USC’s electrifying road win over number four-ranked Washington and made an acrobatic interception to end a drive deep in USC territory in the win over number 10-ranked Colorado. Jackson is a dangerous return man, averaging nearly 15 yards per punt return and 30 yards per kickoff return. He consistently helped USC with great field position with fair catches and by disrupting opponents’ kickoff and punt schemes.
45 total tackles: 38 solo tackles, 1 TFL, 4 INT, 7 PBU, 7 PD
3 CAR, 20 yds
15 PR, 220 yds, 1 TD
16 KR, 464 yds, 1 TD
Christian McCaffrey, Running Back / Slot Back / Kick and Punt Returns
Junior, Stanford Cardinal (7-3, 5-3 conference)
McCaffrey is workhorse on offense and special teams who led the Cardinal in rushing, scoring, punt and kickoff returns, and was third on the team in receiving. Primarily a running back, McCaffrey also lined up at slot, wide receiver and “wild caff” quarterback. He accounted for 200+ all-purpose yards in six games and 11 touchdowns despite being bracketed by defensive schemes all season. McCaffrey was a threat to score every time he touched the ball; he forced teams to adjust their kickoff and punting game plans to keep him in check. He also delivered outstanding field position by fair catching punts in tight situations.
192 CAR, 1115 yds, 9 TD
31 REC, 265 yds, 2 TD
6 PR, 41 yds
14 KR, 318 yds
Jabrill Peppers, Linebacker / Defensive Back / Kick Returns / Running Back
Junior, Michigan Wolverines (9-1, 6-1 conference)
While primarily a linebacker, Peppers made an impact at 15 different positions, recording a total 732 snaps on defense, offense and special teams. On defense, Peppers also played cornerback, strong safety and free safety, and led the team with 14 tackles for loss and eight quarterback hurries; he was second on the team with 59 tackles and four sacks. On special teams, Peppers averaged an astounding 17.25 yards per punt return (with one touchdown) and 25 yards per kickoff return, and consistently improved the Wolverines’ field position with numerous fair catches and short kicks by opponents. On offense, he played wildcat quarterback, running back, slot and wide receiver; he is the Wolverine’s fifth leading rusher with 161 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries.
21 CAR, 161 yds, 3 TD
2 REC, 3 yds
59 total tackles: 38 solo tackles, 4 sacks (3 solo), 14 TFL (9 solo), 1 FF, 8 QB hurries
8 KR, 198 yds
16 PR, 276 yds, 1 TD
Dede Westbrook, Wide Receiver / Punt and Kick Returns
Senior, Oklahoma Sooners (8-2, 7-0 conference)
Westbrook is a big-play wider receiver and prolific scorer with blazing speed who is ranked number two in the nation in receiving yards per game, number three in receiving touchdowns (14) and number four in total receiving yards (1,254). He averaged 17 yards per carry, 28 yards per kickoff return and an amazing 20 yards per punt return. He scored OU’s first two touchdowns in the win over Kansas and had 233 all-purpose yards and the game-winning score against Iowa State. His 14 touchdown receptions have averaged 45.4 yards, and 10 of his touchdown catches have come from at least 40 yards.
5 CAR, 83 yds
68 REC, 1,254 yds, 14 TDs
4 PR, 79 yds, 1 TD
8 KR, 227 yds
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. The winner and his family will be honored on March 7, 2017, at the annual Paul Hornung award Banquet presented by KentuckyOne Health at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville. For banquet tickets, contact Julie Howell at 502-587-6742 or JHowell@Louisvillesports.org
The Louisville Sports Commission successfully launched the Paul Hornung Award in 2010 to honor its namesake and native son, and to recognize and reward high-level achievers in college football whose performances and contributions as versatile players often go unnoticed. Owen Marecic of Stanford, a two-way starter and All Pac-10 performer at fullback and linebacker, won the inaugural Paul Hornung Award in 2010; Brandon Boykin of Georgia won the award in 2011 after excelling on defense, offense and special teams; Tavon Austin of West Virginia won the award in 2012 as one of two players in the nation with more than 500 yards in three different categories (rushing, receiving and kick returns); Odell Beckham Jr. of LSU won the award in 2013 after finishing 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; Shaq Thompson of Washington won the award in 2014 as a two-way player, earning first team All-American honors at linebacker and finishing as the Husky’s second-leading rusher at tailback; and Christian McCaffrey of Stanford won the award in 2015 after breaking the NCAA record for all-purpose yards, finishing with 3,864 yards.