The Paul Hornung Award

WEEK 8: Three Players Lead Teams to Conference Wins to Earn Hornung Award Honor Roll

Louisville, Ky. – October 21, 2019 – Three offensive skill position players who double as return specialists were named to the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll in week eight of the college football season: KJ Hamler, Penn State wide receiver/return specialist; Wesley Kennedy III, Georgia Southern running back/return specialist; and Joe Reed, Virginia wide receiver / kick return specialist.

The Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse, now in its 10th season, is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football by the Louisville Sports Commission and football legend and Louisville native Paul Hornung. The winner and his family will be honored at the annual Paul Hornung Award dinner at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville on March 4, 2020.

Sophomore wide receiver and returner KJ Hamler of Penn State touched the ball four different ways and scored twice in the Nittany Lions’ 28-21 home win over Michigan. He caught a 25-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, caught the game-winning score on a 53-yard bomb in the fourth quarter, and his four-yard run for a first down late in the game sealed the win. Hamler finished with six receptions and 108 yards, two kick returns for 65 yards, three punt returns for seven yards and two rushes for six yards.

Junior running back and returner Wesley Kennedy III of Georgia Southern touched the ball four different ways and scored twice in Georgia Southern’s 30-27 home win over conference foe Coastal Carolina in three overtimes. Kennedy scored on a four-yard run in the second quarter, then scored the game-winning touchdown on a three-yard run in the third overtime. He finished the game with 161 all-purpose yards on 29 touches rushing, receiving and returning kicks and punts.

Senior wide receiver and kick returner Joe Reed of Virginia touched the ball three different ways, racked up 179 all-purpose yards and scored once in the Cavalier’s 48-14 home win over Duke. Reed scored on a 95-yard kickoff return in the second quarter, had five receptions on the game for 45 yards, including three for first downs, returned a kickoff 43 yards and had one carry. UVA is 5-2 on the season and atop the ACC Coastal Division at 3-1.

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 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 Fans can also follow online on Twitter (@hornungaward) and Become a Fan on Facebook.

Previous Paul Hornung Award winners by year:

  • 2018: Rondale Moore of Purdue won the award as a dynamic All-American freshman sensation who broke a school record for all-purpose yards in a season and a game with 2,215 and 313 respectively.
  • 2017: Saquon Barkley of Penn State won the award as an electrifying All-American running back who lined up at slot and wildcat quarterback, and returned kicks and punts;
  • 2016: Jabrill Peppers of Michigan won the award by playing 15 different positions on defense, offense and special teams, and earning first team All-America at linebacker;
  • 2015: Christian McCaffrey of Stanford won the award after breaking the NCAA record for all-purpose yards, finishing with 3,864;
  • 2014: Shaq Thompson of Washington won the award as a two-way player, earning first team All-American honors at linebacker and finishing as the Husky’s second-leading rusher at tailback;
  • 2013: Odell Beckham Jr. of LSU won the award 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;
  • 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);
  • 2011: Brandon Boykin of Georgia won the award after excelling on defense, offense and special teams; and
  • 2010: Owen Marecic of Stanford won the inaugural Paul Hornung Award as a two-way starter and All Pac-10 performer at fullback and linebacker.

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. For more information and to vote, go to