WEEK 1: Six Players Earn Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll to Open College Football Season
Players from ACC, Big 10, Mountain West and SEC Help Teams to Opening Wins
Louisville, Ky. – Sept. 7, 2021 – Six players representing four different conferences earned the Paul Hornung Award Honor roll for their versatile play in opening game victories for their respective schools. Blake Corum (RB/KR Michigan) and Rakim Jarrett (WR/KR Maryland) represent the Big 10; Tyler Badie (RB/KR, Missouri) and Ainias Smith (WR/KR, Texas A&M) represent the SEC; Deven Thompkins (WR/KR, Utah State) represents the Mountain West; and Zonovan Knight (RB/KR, NC State) represents the ACC.
The Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse, now in its 12th season, is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football by the Louisville Sports Commission to pay tribute to football legend and Louisville native Paul Hornung, who passed away in Nov. 2021. 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 2022.
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 and factors into the selection of the finalists and winner.
Missouri’s Tyler Badie touched the ball 29 times three different ways and scored rushing and receiving in the Tigers’ 34-24 home win over Central Michigan. Badie carried the ball 25 times for 203 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and caught three passes for 40 yards, including a 30-yard score in the second quarter. He handled one kickoff and accounted for eight first downs from scrimmage.
Michigan’s Blake Corum touched the ball three different ways, accounted for 212 yards in total offense and scored twice in the Wolverines’ 47-14 home win over Western Michigan. Corum carried the ball 14 times for 111 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown reception and caught two passes for 22 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown reception to open the scoring for UM. Corum’s 79-yard kickoff return set up a first quarter Michigan field goal.
Maryland’s Rakim Jarrett touched the ball three different ways and accounted for the game-winning touchdown in the Terps’ 30-24 come-from-behind win over West Virginia at College Park. Jarrett caught six passes for 122 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown reception late in the game that gave Maryland a 30-21 lead. Jarrett accounted for four first downs receiving, carried the ball one time and returned two kickoffs.
NC State’s Zonovan Knight touched the ball 19 times rushing, receiving and returning kickoffs for 204 all-purpose yards and a touchdown in the Wolfpack’s 45-0 home win over South Florida. Knight carried the ball 16 times for 163 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Knight accounted for four first downs rushing, caught two passes and returned a kickoff 25 yards.
Texas A&M’s Ainias Smith touched the ball 15 times three different ways and scored twice in the Aggies’ 41-10 home win over Kent State. Smith caught eight passes for 100 yards, including touchdown catches of four yards and 14 yards. He carried the ball three times for 16 yards and accounted for six first downs rushing and receiving. Smith returned two punts for 11 yards and fair caught two punts.
Utah State’s Deven Thompkins touched the ball three different ways and scored the winning touchdown in the Aggies’ 26-23 come-from-behind win over Washington State in Pullman. Thompkins caught eight passes for 94 yards and his seven-yard scoring reception with 13 seconds remaining proved to be the winner. He accounted for four first downs receiving that kept three scoring drives alive late in the game.
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 www.paulhornungaward.com. Fans also can follow online on Twitter (@hornungaward) and Become a Fan on Facebook.
Previous Paul Hornung Award winners by year:
• 2020: DeVonta Smith of Alabama topped the nation in receiving yards and yards after catch, and averaged 24 yards per punt return leading the Crimson Tide to the national championship. He scored touchdowns rushing, receiving and returning punts and was a gunner on punt coverage.
• 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.
Below are past winners and finalists who have made their mark in the NFL:
• Ameer Abdullah* RB; Nebraska / Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings
• Joe Adams WR; Arkansas / Carolina Panthers
• Antonio Andrews WR; Western Kentucky / Tennessee Titans
• Dri Archer RB; Kent State / Pittsburgh Steelers
• Tavon Austin RB; West Virginia / St. Louis, Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers
• Saquon Barkley* RB; Penn State / New York Giants
• Odell Beckham Jr* WR; LSU / New York Giants, Cleveland Browns
• Lynn Bowden, Jr.* WR; Kentucky / Miami Dolphins
• Brandon Boykin CB; Georgia / Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens
• Randall Cobb* WR; Kentucky / Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans
• D’Wayne Eskridge* WR; North Carolina / Seattle Seahawks
• Travis Etienne* RB; Clemson / Jacksonville Jaguars
• Clyde Edwards-Helaire* RB; LSU / Kansas City Chiefs
• Marcus Green WR; Louisiana-Monroe / Philadelphia Eagles
• Marion Grice RB; Arizona State / Arizona Cardinals
• KJ Hamler WR; Penn State / Denver Broncos
• N’Keal Harry* WR; Arizona State / New England Patriots
• Nyheim Hines* RB; NC State / Indianapolis Colts
• Myles Jack* LB; UCLA / Jacksonville Jaguars
• Adoree’ Jackson* CB; USC / Tennessee Titans
• LaMichael James RB; Oregon / Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers
• Jeremy Kerley WR; TCU / San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills
• Joel Lanning LB; Iowa State / Dallas Cowboys
• Marqise Lee* WR; USC / Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots
• Johnny Manziel QB; Texas A&M / Cleveland Browns
• Owen Marecic DB; Stanford / Cleveland Browns
• Christian McCaffrey* RB; Stanford / Carolina Panthers
• Ty Montgomery* RB; Stanford / Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints
• Marcus Murphy RB; Missouri / New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers
• Robert Nkemdiche* DL; Ole Miss / Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks
• Jabrill Peppers* DB; Michigan / Cleveland Browns, New York Giants
• Dante Pettis* WR; Washington / San Francisco 49ers
• Joe Reed* WR; Virginia / Los Angeles Chargers
• DeVonta Smith* WR; Alabama / Philadelphia Eagles
• Shaq Thompson* LB; Washington / Carolina Panthers
• Kadarius Toney* WR; Florida / New York Giants
• Dede Westbrook* WR; Oklahoma / Jacksonville Jaguars
*Currently active in NFL