The Paul Hornung Award

WEEK 5: Players from Four Different Conferences Earn Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll

Award Presented by Texas Roadhouse, Given to Nation’s Most Versatile Player

Louisville, Ky. – Oct. 3, 2023 – Four versatile running backs from four different conferences earned the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll for their performances in Week Five of the college football season. Making the list are Ismail Mahdi from Texas State (Sun Belt), Cameron Skattebo from Arizona State (Pac-12), Jacquez Stuart from Toledo (MAC) and Blake Watson from Memphis (AAC). Mahdi earned the NCFAA Paul Hornung Award National Player of the Week honors with 317 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns in Texas State’s win over Southern Miss.

Texas State sophomore RB/return specialist Ismail Mahdi touched the ball 18 times three different ways and scored four times in the Bobcat’s wild road win over Southern Miss 50-36. Mahdi returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, then added three touchdowns rushing, including an eight-yard run to the endzone late in the second quarter that proved to be the winning score.  He caught one pass for 90 yards, accounted for eight first downs from scrimmage and handled three kickoff returns.

Arizona State junior RB/all-purpose player Cameron Skattebo touched the ball 29 times three different ways and scored once in the Sun Devil’s 24-21 loss to Cal on the road. Skattebo, who lines up at running back and wildcat quarterback, carried the ball 24 times and scored on a two-yard run in the first quarter, completed an 18-yard pass and caught four passes for 98 yards. He accounted for eight first downs – four rushing, three receiving and one passing.

Toledo junior RB/return specialist Jacquez Stuart touched the ball 20 times three different ways and scored once in the Rockets’ 35-33 home win over Northern Illinois. Stuart carried the ball 15 times for 79 yards, including a seven-yard scoring run in the third quarter. He caught one pass, returned four kickoffs for 119 yards and accounted for three first downs from scrimmage.

Memphis senior RB/special teams player Blake Watson touched the ball three different ways and ran for two touchdowns, including what proved to be the winning score, in the Tigers’ come-from-behind home win over Boise State, 35-32. Watson carried the ball 19 times for 113 yards, scoring on a seven-yard run in the second quarter and a one-yard run with 2:19 remaining. He caught two passes, accounted for nine first downs from scrimmage and recovered a teammate’s muffed kickoff return.

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