LOUISVILLE, Ky. - For the second consecutive year, University of Hawai'i multi-purpose player Scott Harding was named to the Paul Hornung Award Watch List, presented by Texas Roadhouse.
Now in its fifth season, the award 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. Harding was one of 47 players selected to the watch list, which includes one finalist from last season, Myles Jack from UCLA. The watch list also contains 22 of the top 100 all-purpose players from 2013 according to yards per game average from ncaa.com including the top two - Ty Montgomery from Stanford and Jamarcus Nelson from UAB.
Last season, Harding started at three different positions - wide receiver, punter, and punt returner - for the Rainbow Warriors and was selected at the team's Most Valuable Player. Last month, the Brisbane, Australia native was selected to Phil Steele's preseason all-Mountain West team at all three positions - second team punter, fourth team wide receiver, and fourth team punt returner.
Harding was an honorable mention all-conference as a punter in 2013 after averaging 40.2 yards per punt while nearly 75 percent of his punts were either fair-caught or downed. He also ranked second on the team with 56 receptions for 631 yards and averaged 8.3 yards per punt return.
The 2014 Hornung Watch List was compiled by a panel of college football experts based on a combination of 2013 statistics, career performance and expectations heading into the 2014 season. The Selection Committee is comprised of 16 national sports journalists and former college and NFL players who vote for finalists then a winner. Profiles of each player and information about the Award can be found at www.paulhornungaward.com
The Watch List is comprised of 22 seniors, 12 juniors and 13 sophomores, representing 43 universities and 10 conferences that are part of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The ACC and Big Ten are tied as the leading conferences with 10 players followed by the Pac-12 with seven players. There are five players from the Big 12 and four from the SEC on the Watch List.
Players on this year's Paul Hornung Award Watch List accounted for 9,799 rushing yards, 21,281 receiving yards, 18,353 kickoff return yards, 4,104 punt return yards and 346 total tackles in 2013. Reminiscent of Hornung during his playing days, members of the Watch List demonstrated a knack for scoring last season, accounting for 300 total touchdowns in seven different ways - passing, rushing, receiving, punt return, kickoff return, interception and fumble recovery/fumble return.
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. Owen Marecic of Stanford, a two-way starter and All Pac-10 performer at fullback and linebacker, won the inaugural Paul Hornung Award in 2010; Brandon Boykin of Georgia won the award in 2011 after excelling on defense, offense and special teams; Tavon Austin of West Virginia won the award in 2012 as one of two players in the nation with more than 500 yards in three different categories (rushing, receiving and kick returns); and Odell Beckham Jr. of LSU won the award in 2013 after finishing the season ranked second in the nation and first in the Southeastern Conference with 2,222 all-purpose yards and 185.2 average yards per game.
Past winners and finalists who have made their mark in the NFL or are beginning their careers in 2014, include Boykin (Philadelphia Eagles), Austin (St. Louis Rams), Beckham Jr. (New York Giants), Kentucky's Randall Cobb (Green Bay Packers), Toledo's Eric Page (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Oregon's LaMichael James (San Francisco 49ers), TCU's Jeremy Kerley (New York Jets), Kent State's Dri Archer (Pittsburgh Steelers), Arizona State's Marion Grice (San Diego Chargers) and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel (Cleveland Browns).