USC wideout Deebo Samuel placed on Hornung Award watch list

COLUMBIA, S.C. – University of South Carolina all-purpose performer Deebo Samuel is one of 43 multi-talented college football players named to the 2018 Watch List for the Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse, the Louisville Sports Commission announced today.

The Paul Hornung Award, now in its ninth 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 presented by Jewish Hospital Sports Medicine, to be held at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville in March 2019. This will be The Paul Hornung Award’s third year as an associate member of the National College Football Awards Association.

Samuel, a 6-0, 210-pounder from Inman, S.C., is a preseason first-team All-SEC selection at wide receiver, kick returner and all-purpose back, according to the media that attended the annual SEC Media Days in Atlanta last week. He was limited to just three games last season due to injury. However, in those three contests, Samuel scored six touchdowns, including a pair of 97-yard kickoff returns. He earned the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll following his performances against both NC State and Missouri. He caught 15 passes for 250 yards in 2017, and owns 86 career receptions for 1,194 yards and five scores. He has averaged 34.2 yards with three touchdowns on 19 career kickoff returns.

The Paul Hornung Award has an impressive legacy. Saquon Barkley, the 2017 Paul Hornung Award winner, was the second pick in the 2018 NFL Draft; the three 2017 finalists also are currently on NFL rosters. The six most-recent winners, including Barkley, were NFL first round draft picks in their respective years.

“Due to the leadership and hard work of the Louisville Sports Commission, the award created in my name has come a long way in a short time,” said Paul Hornung, the 1956 Heisman Trophy winner who played every position in the offensive backfield during his Notre Dame career and was a triple threat halfback and placekicker for the title town Green Bay Packers of the early 1960s. “We’ve selected outstanding college players, many who have gone on to do extremely well in the NFL. I’m pleased that we are able to acknowledge outstanding players who contribute any way possible to help their teams win, the same way I did.”

Hornung, who maintains an office in downtown Louisville, earned NFL MVP honors for the Packers in 1961 by setting a single-season NFL scoring record that stood 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 2018 Watch List is comprised of 14 seniors, 19 juniors and 10 sophomores who play a total of 10 different positions. They represent 43 universities in 27 states coast-to-coast across the 10 conferences that are part of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), as well as three independent schools. The ACC leads the conferences with six players, followed by the Big Ten and the SEC with five players each.

Players on this year’s Watch List accounted for 11,109 rushing yards, 14,601 receiving yards, 19,281 kickoff return yards, 2,861 punt return yards and 294 total tackles in 2017. 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 229 total touchdowns in six different ways – rushing; receiving; passing; and returning punts, kickoffs and interceptions.

The 2018 Watch List was compiled by a panel of college football experts based on a combination of 2017 statistics, career performance, SID recommendations, and expectations heading into the 2018 season. Information about the Award can be found at Players will be added to the Watch List during the 2018 regular season based on performance.

Categories: Local Sports, Sports, USC Gamecocks