WEEK 8: Four Players Lead Teams to Conference Wins, Earn Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll
Louisville, Ky. – Oct. 24, 2023 – Four players earn the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll by helping lead teams to conference victories in Week Eight of the college football season. Making the list are Demond Claiborne, Wake Forest; Ron Cook Jr, Buffalo; Jacob De Jesus, UNLV; and Sione Vaki, Utah.
For his performance in Utah’s win over USC, Vaki will be honored by the National College Football Awards Association as the Paul Hornung Award National Player-of-the-Week.
Wake Forest sophomore RB/return specialist Demond Claiborne touched the ball 16 times three different ways and scored twice in the Demon Deacons’ last-second, come-from-behind win over Pitt at home, 21-17. Claiborne carried the ball 14 times for 96 yards and two touchdowns, including a 42-yard run with three minutes to go that put Wake up 14-10. He accounted for four first downs, three rushing and one on a 22-yard reception, and had one kickoff return.
Buffalo senior RB/return specialist Ron Cook, Jr, touched the ball 17 times four different ways and scored once in the Bulls’ 24-6 road win over Kent State. Cook carried the ball nine times for 46 yards, including a one-yard scoring run in the second quarter. He caught one pass for six yards, had punt returns of 32 and 19 yards, returned a kickoff 26 yards and accounted for three first downs rushing.
UNLV junior WR/returns specialist Jacob De Jesus touched the ball 15 times three different ways and accounted for 163 all-purpose yards in the Rebels’ last-second, come-from-behind win over Colorado State at home, 25-23. De Jesus caught nine passes for 120 yards and six first downs, including a 20-yard reception with 0:27 remaining that set up the game-winning, 28-yard field goal. He had punt returns of 12 yards and 28 yards that led to UNLV field goal drives and returned four kickoffs for 103 yards.
Utah sophomore safety/RB Sione Vaki played 91 total snaps on defense, offense and special teams, and scored twice in the Utes’ 34-32, come-from-behind road win over USC that was decided on the game’s final play. Vaki played 64 downs at defensive safety and made two solo tackles, played 19 snaps on offense where he had five receptions for 149 yards and two scores, and carried the ball nine times for 68 yards. He accounted for five first downs receiving and two first downs rushing and played eight snaps on special teams.
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.
2023 Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll
- Week 1: Zachariah Branch, USC; Erik Brooks, Fresno State; Malik Fleming, Houston; Travis Hunter, Colorado; Jayden McGowan, Vanderbilt; Jalen McMillian, Washington
- Week 2: Phillip Brooks, Kansas State; Travis Hunter, Colorado; Braden Smith, Cincinnati; Lincoln Victor, Washington State
- Week 3: Jacob De Jesus, UNLV; Tory Horton, Colorado State; Parker Kingston, BYU; DJ Lundy, FSU’ Michael Wiley, Arizona
- Week 4: Emeka Egbuka, Ohio State; Jawhar Jordan, Louisville; Will Shipley, ACC; Cameron Skattebo, Arizona State
- Week 5: Ismail Mahdi, Texas State; Cameron Skattebo, Arizona State; Jacquez Stuart, Toledo; Blake Watson, Memphis
- Week 6: Silas Bolden, Oregon State; Ron Cook, Jr., Buffalo; Jalil Farooq, Oklahoma; Keegan Jones, UCLA
- Week 7: Travis Hunter, Colorado; Brennan Presley, Oklahoma State; Sione Vaki, Utah