The Louisville Sports Commission announced today that Clemson wide receiver and punt returner Amari Rodgers has been named as one of 50 players on the watch list for the Paul Hornung Award. Additional information from award organizers is included below.
Louisville, Ky. — July 23, 2020 — The Louisville Sports Commission today named 50 multi-talented college football players to the 2020 Watch List for the Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse.
The Paul Hornung Award, now in its 11th 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 2021.
More information about the Award can be found at www.paulhornungaward.com.
The 2020 Watch List is comprised of 50 players – 18 seniors, 22 juniors, nine sophomores and one grad transfer who play a total of eight different positions. These players represent 50 universities located in 28 states coast-to-coast that are part of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. All 10 FBS conferences and one independent school are represented on the Watch List; the SEC leads the conferences with eight players, followed by ACC with seven players and the Pac-12 and MWC with six players each.
The Paul Hornung Award has created an impressive legacy in 10 years. Six winners were first round NFL draft picks – Tavon Austin, Odell Beckham Jr., Shaq Thompson, Christian McCaffrey, Jabrill Peppers and Saquon Barkley. Last year’s winner, third-round draft pick Lynn Bowden Jr. of Kentucky, turned in a Hornung-like performance by moving from all-purpose receiver/back/return specialist to quarterback in mid-season and leading the Wildcats to a 5-2 record and Belk Bowl win over Virginia Tech.
For the first time in the Award’s history, the Watch List includes a previous winner and two former finalists. Purdue’s Rondale Moore won the Award as a freshman in 2018. Wan’Dale Robinson (Nebraska) was a finalist last year, and Conner Heyward (Michigan State) was a finalist in 2018. Moore is the second player to try to win the Award twice, along with Christian McCaffrey, who won as a sophomore in 2015 but was edged out by Jabrill Peppers of Michigan in 2016.
In 2019, players on the Watch List accounted for 44,223 total yards, including 10,719 rushing yards, 17,850 receiving yards, 11,889 kickoff return yards and 3,658 punt return yards. A total of six players who made the list play defense and accounted for 292 total tackles, 15 interceptions and 45 PBUs. Reminiscent of Hornung during his playing days, members of the Watch List demonstrated a knack for scoring numerous ways. Last season the Watch List players combined for 239 total touchdowns in six different ways – rushing, receiving, passing, and returning punts, kickoffs and interceptions.
“We created this award as a way to reward college players who selflessly take on the burden of playing multiple positions, and excel at a high level the way Paul Hornung did for Notre Dame and the Green Bay Packers,” said Karl Schmitt, president and CEO of the Louisville Sports Commission, owners and operators of the Award. “In addition, we wanted to introduce young players to the legacy of Hornung, who said he would do anything his coach asked of him to help his team win games.”
Hornung, who still lives in his hometown of Louisville, played every position in the offensive backfield during his career with the Irish in the 1950s and also played defensive safety, punted, placekicked and returned kickoffs. He was named All-America at quarterback as a senior and won the Heisman Trophy in 1956, then was the first player selected in the NFL draft, going to Green Bay. He earned NFL MVP honors for the Packers in 1961 as a triple-threat halfback and placekicker by setting a single-season NFL scoring record that stood for 46 years. He is a member of the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, and Vince Lombardi once called him, “The most versatile man ever to play the game.”
The 2020 Watch List was compiled by a panel of college football experts based on a combination of 2019 statistics, career performance, SID recommendations and expectations heading into the 2020 season. In addition to the Watch List, the Paul Hornung Award Weekly Honor Roll will recognize players whose performances during the regular season meet the Award’s criteria. Players from both the Watch List and the Honor Roll will be eligible to win the Award.
2020 Watch List SelectionsJaylond Adams, Southern MissOtis Anderson, UCFTyler Badie, MissouriJourney Brown, Penn StateTre Brown, OklahomaTreylon Burks, ArkansasJordan Byrd, SDSUMichael Carter, UNCBritain Covey, UtahDylan Drummond, Eastern MichiganJerrion Ealy, Ole MissD’Wayne Eskridge, Western MichiganDemetric Felton, UCLAXavier Gaines, MarshallHassan Hall, LouisvilleThomas Hennigan, Appalachian StateConnor Heyward, Michigan StateJevon Holland, OregonDeon Jackson, DukeGiles Jackson, MichiganD’Shawn Jamison, TexasAmare Jones, TulaneVelus Jones Jr., TennesseeLopini Katoa, BYUWesley Kennedy III, Georgia SouthernMyron Mitchell, UABRondale Moore, PurdueK.D. Nixon, ColoradoKalil Pimpleton, Central MichiganRonnie Rivers, Fresno StateStephon Robinson Jr., KansasTayvion Robinson, Virginia TechWan’Dale Robinson, NebraskaAmari Rodgers, ClemsonAinias Smith, Texas A&MIhmir Smith-Marsette, IowaTyler Snead, ECUMarquez Stevenson, HoustonDerek Stingley Jr., LSUAmon-Ra St. Brown, USCToa Taua, NevadaJuanyeh Thomas, Georgia TechThayer Thomas, NC StateDeven Thompkins, Utah StateKadarius Toney, FloridaAustin Trammell, RiceJaylen Waddle, AlabamaConnor Wedington, StanfordAvery Williams, Boise StateDante Wright, Colorado State
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:
Below are past winners and finalists who have made their mark in the NFL:
*Currently active in NFL
Texas Roadhouse signed on as presenting sponsor of the Paul Hornung Award in 2011 and will partner 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 will open in late September and factor into the selection of the finalists and winner.
About the National College Football Awards AssociationThe Paul Hornung Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about the association.
The members of the NCFAA are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a two-week period this month. Fourteen of the association’s awards select a preseason watch list and the NCFAA has spearheaded a coordinated effort to promote each award’s preseason candidates. Following is the complete 2020 preseason watch list calendar: