2019 Preseason Award Projections: Hornung Award

By Charlie Campbell
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Heading into the 2019 college football season, WalterFootball.com will debut our projections for the nation’s leaders during the fall. The All-American teams always have some surprises, and the next fall’s stars could be the headline players next April for the 2020 NFL Draft. We also will project the winners of the postseason awards that are given out to the best of college football.

The Paul Hornung Award is given to the most versatile player in college football. We had a streak of two straight predictions coming true with Jabrill Peppers in 2016 and Saquon Barkley in 2017. Last year, Purdue’s Rondale Moore won the Hornung Awward.

Paul Hornung Award Winner:

Rondale Moore, Purdue

In some ways this is a gutsy pick because the Hornung Award has never gone to the same player twice. However Moore has two years where he could change that as the Boilermaker electrified college football during his freshman season. He caught 114 passes for 1,258 yards with 12 touchdowns. Moore also had 18 carries for 203 yards and a touchdown as a tailback while contributing on special teams. Moore is such an electric playmaker, I wouldn’t be surprised if he bucks tradition and is able to repeat as the Hornung Award winner.

Paul Hornung Award Runner-Up:

Avery Williams, Boise State

Williams had a breakout redshirt freshman season for the Broncos in 2017. Defensively Williams had a very solid season with 45 tackles, eight passes broken up, and two interceptions. On special teams he was one of the top returners in the nation and led the Mountain West conference with 11.2 yards per punt return average with two touchdowns. He also averaged 25 yards per kick return. As a sophomore in 2018, he only returned two kick offs but one of which he brought back for a touchdown. He averaged seven yards per punt return, but teams punted away from him. Defensively he stayed consistent with 49 tackles, nine passes broken up, and two interceptions.

I think Williams could be a dynamic returner again this fall that continues to be a solid corner for the Broncos. I think he could end up winning the Hornung Award in 2019.

Paul Hornung Award Dark Horse:

Savon Scarver, Utah State

Scarver was a phenomenal returner in 2018 as he averaged a ridiculous 33.7 yards per kick return. He had two kicks returned for touchdowns and consistently put his team in good field position with long kickoffs. Offensively, Scarver did not do much receiving the past two seasons and in 2018 he had nine catches for 156 yards and two scores. I could see the Aggies trying to get him more receptions to take advantage of his playmaking ability. If he starts producing as a receiver, Scarver will be a top contender for the Hornung Award given his special teams ability.

Honorable Mentions: Oklahoma WR Ceedee Lamb, New Mexico DB Marcus Hayes, Syracuse WR Sean Riley, Louisville DB Rodjay Burns, North Carolina WR Dazz Newsome, Florida State WR D.J. Matthews, Iowa WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Arkansas WR De’Vion Warren, Tulane RB Amare Jones, and Washington State WR Travell Harris.

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