University of South Carolina junior wide receiver Deebo Samuel is one of 46 multi-talented college football players named to the 2017 Watch List for the Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse, it was announced today.
The Paul Hornung Award, now in its eighth 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 Banquet presented by KentuckyOne Health, to be held at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville on March 8, 2018. This will be The Paul Hornung Award's second year as an associate member of the prestigious National College Football Awards Association.
Samuel, a 6-0, 215-pound junior from Inman, S.C., was named preseason first-team All-SEC as an all-purpose back and second-team as a kick returner by Athlon. The top returning receiver on the squad with 71 career catches for 944 yards, Samuel has scored nine career touchdowns - six on the ground, two receiving and one via kickoff return. He tied the school’s single-game record with 14 receptions and set Birmingham Bowl records with 14 catches for 190 yards against USF. He previously was named to the Maxwell Award Watch List, which is given to America’s College Player of the Year.
"We have a terrific Watch List again this year," said Paul Hornung, namesake of the Award, who legendary Coach Vince Lombardi called "the most versatile man ever to play the game." "I love the fact that we recognize players who have the skill and the right mind set to play anyplace on the field to help their team win games."
The 2017 Watch List is comprised of one graduate student, 23 seniors, 19 juniors, and three sophomores who play a total of nine different positions. They represent 45 universities in 28 states coast-to-coast across the 10 conferences that are part of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The ACC leads the conferences with 10 players, followed by the SEC with eight players, and the Big Ten with five players.
Players on this year's Watch List accounted for 10,724 rushing yards, 16,853 receiving yards, 13,548 kickoff return yards, 4,092 punt return yards, and 394 total tackles in 2016. 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 291 total touchdowns in six different ways - passing, rushing, receiving, punt return, kickoff return, and interception.
The 2017 Watch List was compiled by a panel of college football experts based on a combination of 2016 statistics, career performance, SID recommendations, and expectations heading into the 2017 season. Profiles of each player and information about the Award can be found at www.paulhornungaward.com. Players will be added to the Watch List during the 2017 regular season based on performance.