Hornung Award will recognize versatility

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- There is a new college football award coming out in 2010.

I know what you're thinking: College football needs another award like the SEC needs more revenue.

But this one -- the Paul Hornung Award, to be presented by the Louisville Sports Commission in Hornung's hometown -- comes with an interesting twist: It will go to the most versatile player in college football.

That's fitting, given Hornung's football niche. If there was a player who did more things extremely well than Hornung did at Notre Dame in the 1950s, name him.

He was a running back, quarterback, defensive back, kicker and punter. And he was great at all of those things -- which is how you win the Heisman Trophy on a 2-8 team. At a breakfast announcing the award Wednesday, they showed video of Hornung in a 1955 game against Iowa. In the late stages, The Golden Boy did the following:

  • Eluded a certain sack by running 20 yards backward, then throwing a touchdown pass.

  • Kicked the ensuing extra point.

  • Kicked off to the Hawkeyes.

  • Made the tackle on the kickoff.

  • Played defense, helping force a punt.

  • Led Notre Dame's drive into field goal range.

  • Kicked the winning field goal in a 17-14 victory.

The Louisville Sports Commission put out a fantasy list of candidates if the award had been presented in 2009:

Javier Arenas, Alabama -- Kick returner, defensive back

Antonio Brown, Central Michigan -- Wide receiver, Wildcat QB, kick returner

Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma -- Wide receiver, kick returner

Randall Cobb, Kentucky -- Wide receiver, running back, Wildcat QB, standard QB

Terrence Cody, Alabama -- Run stopper, kick-blocker, short-yardage blocking back

Mardy Gilyard, Cincinnati -- Wide receiver, kick returner

Brett Hamlin, Buffalo -- Wide receiver, kick returner, holder on place kicks

Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan -- Run/pass spread offense QB threat

Doug Martin, Boise State -- Running back, linebacker

Dexter McCluster, Ole Miss -- Wide receiver, running back, Wildcat QB

C.J. Spiller, Clemson -- Running back, kick returner, wide receiver

Tim Tebow, Florida -- You know about him

Daniel Thomas, Kansas State -- Running back, Wildcat QB

"Football had a tremendous impact on my life,” said Hornung. “I still love college football and follow it closely. The idea of giving back to college football by recognizing players who excel at multiple positions is exciting.”

If the award had been in place and Hornung were casting the deciding vote in '09, he said it would have gone to Tebow. That's appropriate, because Tebow played quarterback about the same way Hornung did five decades earlier.