DURHAM, N.C. – Duke senior wide receiver Jamison Crowder and redshirt sophomore safety/cornerback DeVon Edwards have been selected to the preseason watch list for the Hornung Award, an honor presented annually to the most versatile player in the nation by The Louisville Sports Commission.
Crowder, a 5-9, 175-pound native of Monroe, N.C., was an All-American punt returner as a junior as well as one of the top receivers in the nation. He posted an ACC single-season record 108 receptions for 1,360 yards and eight touchdowns while returning 25 punts for 402 yards and two touchdowns on the way to earning second team All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America, Sports Illustrated and Phil Steele.
A 2014 preseason All-America choice by Athlon Sports, Phil Steele, Sporting News and USA Today, Crowder is among the top deep threats in all of college football and last season grabbed four touchdown receptions of 50 yards or more. He had four games with double figure receptions in 2013, including a career-best 12 receptions for 163 yards and one touchdown in Duke’s 52-48 loss to No. 21 Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. For his career, Crowder has caught 198 passes for 2,597 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Edwards, a 5-9, 175-pound native of Covington, Ga., also earned All-America honors last season as a return specialist, garnering accolades from Walter Camp Foundation (2nd team), Athlon Sports (3rd team), Phil Steele (3rd team) and Sports Illustrated (Honorable mention) after finishing third nationally in kickoff return average (30.21).
As a safety, Edwards registered 64 tackles, three interceptions and six pass breakups and finished second in the balloting for ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. In addition, he earned National Defensive Player of the Week honors after posting 10 tackles, returning two interceptions for touchdowns and taking back one kickoff for a touchdown in Duke’s win over N.C. State. He later added another kickoff return for a touchdown in Duke’s ACC Coastal Division-clinching win at North Carolina.
The Paul Hornung Award Watch List includes one finalist from last season, Myles Jack from UCLA. Also, the Watch List 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.
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.
Hornung is impressed with the skills and attitude of the players on the Watch List. "It's great that we are able to acknowledge outstanding players who contribute any way possible to help their team win," Hornung said. "Doing what it takes to win was a trait that I learned early in my athletic career and carried with me to Notre Dame and the Green Bay Packers. I look forward to following the players on our Watch List during the upcoming season. And I enjoy watching many of our winners and finalists from the first four years as they make their marks in the NFL."
2014 Watch List Selections:
Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
Nelson Agholor, Southern California
Kenny Bell, Nebraska
V'Angelo Bentley, Illinois
Victor Bolden, Oregon State
Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh
Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
B.J. Catalon, TCU
Rashon Ceaser, Louisiana Monroe
Stacy Coley, Miami (FL)
James Conner, Pittsburgh
Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
Jamison Crowder, Duke
Stefon Diggs, Maryland
Chris Dunkley, South Florida
DeVon Edwards, Duke
D.J. Foster, Arizona State
Charles Gaines, Louisville
Rannell Hall, Central Florida
Scott Harding, Hawaii
Justin Hardy, East Carolina
Akeem Hunt, Purdue
Myles Jack, UCLA
Christion Jones, Alabama
Jameon Lewis, Mississippi State
Tommylee Lewis, Northern Illinois
Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
T.J. Logan, North Carolina
Venric Mark, Northwestern
Kevonte Martin-Manley, Iowa
J.D. McKissic, Arkansas State
Ty Montgomery, Stanford
Khalfani Muhammad, California
Marcus Murphy, Missouri
Jamarcus Nelson, UAB
Levi Norwood, Baylor
Ryan Switzer, North Carolina
Shaq Thompson, Washington
Antonio Vaughan, Old Dominion
Levonte "Kermit" Whitfield, Florida State
Carlos Wiggins, New Mexico
Kenny Williams, Texas Tech
Shane Williams-Rhodes, Boise St.
Myles Willis, Boston College
Dontre Wilson, Ohio State
Aaron Wimberly, Iowa St.
Shane Wynn, Indiana
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).
Texas Roadhouse signed on as presenting sponsor of the Paul Hornung Award in 2011 and will team with the Louisville Sports Commission to power fan voting again this season. College football fans nationwide will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite player during the regular season and again during the bowl season. Fan voting will open in late September and factor into selection of the finalists and winner.
The winner will be honored at the official Paul Hornung Award Banquet sponsored by KentuckyOne Health, held at the Galt House Hotel and Suites in downtown Louisville in late January-2015.
Players from all FBS teams are eligible and appearing on the Paul Hornung Award Watch List is not a prerequisite for winning the Award. The Selection Committee is comprised of 16 national sports journalists and former college and NFL players who vote for finalists then a winner. Their votes are tabulated by public accounting firm Dean Dorton.