The Paul Hornung Award

WEEK 1 – Three Players from ACC, SEC, and Pac-12 Conference Earned Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll

Award Given to Most Versatile Player in Major College Football Since 2011

Louisville, Ky. – September 5, 2017 – Three offense players who also ran back kicks and punts – Deebo Samuel from South Carolina, Kalen Ballage from Arizona State, and Nyheim Hines from NC State – earned the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll for week one of the college football season. The trio combined for six touchdowns that were scored three different ways.

The Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse is given annually by the Louisville Sports Commission to the most versatile player in major college football. The winner of this year’s award and his family will be honored on March 7, 2018, at a banquet presented by KentuckyOne Health at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville, Ky.

ASU running back / return specialist Kalen Ballage led the Sun Devils to a 37-31 home win over New Mexico State with 140 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. He scored the first touchdown of the game on a seven-yard run from the “Sparky” quarterback position and carried the ball five times on that drive. He scored on a 20-yard run at the close of the third quarter and finished the game with 79 yards rushing, 10 yards receiving, and a 51-yard kickoff return. He also lined up in the slot position on offense.

South Carolina wide receiver / return specialist Deebo Samuel accounted for 185 all-purpose yards and scored three touchdowns in the Gamecocks 35-28 win over NC State at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Samuel made his mark early by returning the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, then added a 5-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, and a 39-yard, one-handed touchdown grab early in the third quarter. Samuel, who finished the game with five catches for 83 yards, also lined up in the slot position and had one carry for five yards.

NC State running back / return specialist Nyheim Hines had a total of 26 touches, one touchdown, and 192 all-purpose yards rushing, receiving, and returning punts and kicks as the Wolfpack lost a thriller to South Carolina, 35-28. Hines was the workhorse out of the backfield with 15 carries for 81 yards and a score. He also caught four passes for 32 yards, returned three punts for 40 yards, and returned two kickoffs. Hines lines up at several positions on in the offensive backfield.

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. Previous winners by year are:

  • 2010: Owen Marecic of Stanford won the inaugural Paul Hornung Award as a two-way starter and All Pac-10 performer at fullback and honorable mention at linebacker.,
  • 2011: Brandon Boykin of Georgia won the award as a lockdown, All-American defensiveback who also excelled on offense and special teams;
  • 2012: Tavon Austin of West Virginia won the award as one of two players in the nation with more than 500 yards in three different categories (rushing, receiving, and kick returns);
  • 2013: Odell Beckham Jr. of LSU won the award after finishing the season ranked second in the nation and first in the SEC with 2,222 all-purpose yards and 185.2 average yards per game;
  • 2014: Shaq Thompson of Washington won the award as a two-way player, earning first team All-America honors at linebacker and finishing as the Husky’s second-leading rusher at tailback;
  • 2015: Christian McCaffrey of Stanford won in 2015 after amassing 3,496 all-purpose yards with 1,847 rushing, 540 receiving and 1,109 return, breaking Barry Sanders record of 3,250 set in 1988; and
  • 2016: Jabrill Peppers of Michigan won the award playing 15 different positions, earning consensus All-America at linebacker, and becoming the first player ever to earn Big Ten Defensive Player of the year, Linebacker of the Year, and Specialist of the Year.

Texas Roadhouse signed on as presenting sponsor of the Paul Hornung Award in 2011 and will team 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. Fan voting factors into the selection of the Paul Hornung Award finalists and winner.