December 10th, 2010

LCS Unveils Hornung Award Finalists

Chris Jung

Senior Writer

LCS Unveils Hornung Award Finalists
photo from Louisvile Sports Commission

Inaugural award will be decided following bowl games

It's not at the level of the Heisman Trophy.....yet.

But ask football legend and Louisville native Paul Hornung, and he'll tell you that the inaugural Paul Hornung Award, named in his honor, will recognize a college football player who offers even more than the eventual 2010 Heisman winner.

Friday morning, at its second annual breakfast at the KFC YUM! Center, the Louisville Sports Commission announced the three finalists for the first-ever Paul Hornung Award that will be presented to the most versatile player in major college football.  The finalists (in no particular order) are fullback/linebacker Owen Marecic of Stanford, wide receiver/kick return specialist Jeremy Kerley of TCU, and wide receiver/quarterback Randall Cobb of Kentucky.    

The LSC created the Paul Hornung Award in January 2010 in an effort to recognize the distinctive talents of college football's most versatile student-athlete and to preserve the legacy of Hornung, a native and lifelong resident of Louisville who is enshrined in both the College Football and National Football League Halls of Fame.    

"Each finalist demonstrated his desire to do whatever his coaches asked to help win football games," said Hornung, 1956 Heisman Trophy winner at Notre Dame and a four-time NFL champion with the Green Bay Packers in the early 1960s. "These guys can run, catch, pass, block, play defense or anchor special teams, and they do it in the big games against the best teams. I am a big fan of all three."    

Marecic, a true throwback that started both ways for nearly the entire 2010 season, logged an average of 110 plays per game in the rugged Pacific 10 - equivalent to nearly two full seasons. His most remarkable accomplishment this season came at Notre Dame when, in a matter of 13 seconds, the AFCA First Team All-American rushed for a one-yard touchdown and, on the very next play from scrimmage intercepted a Notre Dame pass and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown.The Cardinal will play Virginia Tech in the January 3 Orange Bowl.    

Kerley, a game changer as a wide receiver and returning kickoffs and punt returns, was named 2010 Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Year and helped lead the Horned Frogs to their second consecutive unbeaten regular season. The TCU star averaged a career-best 28 yards on kickoff returns and hauled in a team-best and career-high 50 receptions. Kerley tied TCU's single-season record with 10 touchdown receptions among his 13 total touchdowns in 2010, and led the MWC with 123 all-purpose yards per game while tying for third in receptions and seventh in receiving yards. TCU will face Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.    

Cobb, one of the most prolific offensive and special teams threats in the history of the Southeastern Conference, accounted for touchdowns this season catching, running, throwing and returning punts - and held for field goals and PATs. The Wildcats take on Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl on January 8 in Birmingham. The Kentucky star led SEC receivers with 79 catches for 955 yards and seven touchdowns.  At quarterback in the Wildcat formation, Cobb rushed for 401 yards and five touchdowns and threw for three more scores.  He also returned a punt for a TD, threw and ran for two-point conversions and set Kentucky's career record for touchdowns.

The results were announced by Jim Tencza of Dean Dorton Allen Ford - the third party accounting firm responsible for tabulating the votes and keeping the results confidential until the official announcement. PNC Bank's Mike Moll and Jewish Hospital's Marty Bonick were also on hand to show their respective corporate support for the award.

Hornung, who was also on hand at Friday's breakfast, said that one of the factors that will set apart his award from other postseason honors is the fact that the winner will not be voted on and decided until after the three finalists complete their bowl season competition. The Heisman Trophy and other awards are traditionally determined before the season is officially complete.

Other players who received votes for the Paul Hornung Award were (in alphabetical order): Dwayne Harris - East Carolina;  Jerrel Jernigan - Troy, Damaris Johnson - Tulsa, Julio Jones - Alabama, Colin Kaepernick - Nevada, Cam Newton - Auburn, Eric Page - Toledo, Patrick Peterson - LSU,  Trent Richardson - Alabama, Denard Robinson - Michigan, Mohamed Sanu - Rutgers, and Patrick Shed - UAB.    

The Paul Hornung Award Selection Committee is comprised of Mark Blaudschun (Boston Globe), Tim Brando (CBS Sports), Gil Brandt (, Christine Brennan, (USA Today), Joe DeLamielleure, (NFL Hall of Fame), Ron Higgins (Memphis Commercial Appeal), Dan Jenkins (Sports author), Sam Madison (NFL All Pro; retired), Ivan Maisel, (, Jeremy Schaap (ESPN), Phil Simms (CBS Sports), George Schroeder (Eugene Register Guard), Aaron Taylor (CBS College Sports), Lesley Visser (CBS Sports), Kelly Whiteside (USA Today) and Will Wolford (NFL All Pro; retired).    

The selection committee will choose the winner in January and the inaugural winner will be named on Jan. 25 at the Galt House in Louisville. Tickets are currently available for the awards banquet.



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