Penn State running back Saquon Barkley has won the 2017 Paul Hornung Award honoring the most versatile player in college football, the sponsoring Louisville Sports Commission announced Wednesday.
Barkley, a 5-foot-11, 230-pound junior who became the first Nittany Lion to win the award, led the Big Ten and finished second in the nation in all-purpose yards with an average of 179.5 per game. He ranked in the top 10 in the conference in rushing yards (1,134), catches (47), receiving yards (594) and kickoff-return average (28.4 yards).
He scored 21 touchdowns – 16 rushing, three receiving and two on kickoff returns. He also threw a touchdown pass.
Barkley called his selection an honor.
“I am so appreciative of Mr. Hornung and the Louisville Sports Commission for selecting me for this very special honor,” Barkley said in a statement. “I have to give a lot of the credit to my teammates and coaches. They are the reason that I am in position to win this award, and I could not have done it without them.”
Hornung, a former Heisman Trophy winner at Notre Dame and a star running back and placekicker with the Green Bay Packers, said, “Saquon Barkley has the skills and determination to impact games from several positions. He is a team player who performs at the highest level in big games, and a fantastic addition to our list of Paul Hornung Award recipients.”
Barkley’s coach, James Franklin, said he has “never coached or seen a player who can affect the game the way Saquon Barkley does.”
“The Hornung Award is not only honoring the most versatile player in college football, but is also recognizing one of the best people in college football,” Franklin said.
Barkley, who will receive the Hornung Award at a dinner March 7 in Louisville, Ky., is a finalist for the Maxwell Award for college player of the year, the Walter Camp player-of-the-year award, and the Doak Walker Award for the nation’s top running back. The winners of those awards will be announced Thursday.
Penn State’s Saquon Barkley will not be one of the final three players who will compete for the 2017 Heisman Trophy award.
The Heisman Memorial Trophy (usually known colloquially as the Heisman Trophy or The Heisman), is awarded annually to the most outstanding player in college football in the United States whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.
Here are the 3 players competing for the trophy.
Baker Mayfield: Just look at these numbers: 4,340 passing yards, 71.0 completion percentage, 41 passing touchdowns, five interceptions, 310 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. Mayfield finished third in Heisman voting a year ago, fourth in 2015 and has enjoyed an incredible career that included walking on twice (once at Texas Tech and again at Oklahoma). The senior signal caller has a flair for the dramatic, freelances as well as anybody in the game and is a big reason why the Sooners will be playing in a CFP semifinal against Georgia on New Year’s Day at the Rose Bowl.
Lamar Jackson: The winner of college football’s most prestigious award in 2016, Jackson has had a comparable season in 2017. He bumped up his completion percentage four points to 60.4, nearly matched his passing yardage at 3,489, cut down on his interceptions by three by tossing only six and threw 25 touchdowns. He rushed for 1,443 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns en route to a berth in the TaxSlayer Bowl.
Bryce Love: No Christian McCaffrey, no problem for Stanford. Love stepped in and rushed for 1,973 yards, 17 touchdowns and gained 8.32 yards per carry for the Pac-12 North champion Cardinal. Oh, that was on a bad ankle for the second half of the season, which didn’t prevent him from being a superstar for a team that had a small margin for error in the division title race. Love led Stanford to the Alamo Bowl, where they’ll take on TCU.
Saquon Barkely racked up 2,154 all-purpose yards and 21 touchdowns this season and was favored to win the award when the Nittany Lions jumped out to a 7-0 start. But his momentum was slowed when Penn State suffered back-to-back losses at Ohio State and Michigan State in November.
Penn State will compete in the Fiesta Bowl on December 30th against the University of Washington at the University of Phoenix at 4 PM.
Check out his Barkely’s highlights.