By Kent Taylor| December 11, 2010 at 5:12 AM EST - Updated June 23 at 2:10 AM
Official release from Louisville Sports Commission
Marecic, Kerley and Cobb Named Finalists for
Inaugural Paul Hornung Award
Winner to be Selected Following January Bowl Games
LOUISVILLE, KY (Dec. 10, 2010) - The Louisville Sports Commission ("LSC") today announced three finalists for the inaugural Paul Hornung Award that will be presented to the most versatile player in major college football. The finalists are: fullback/linebacker Owen Marecic of Stanford, wide receiver/kick return specialist Jeremy Kerley of TCU, and wide receiver/quarterback Randall Cobb of Kentucky.
The announcement was made at the Sports Commission's annual breakfast held in downtown Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center.
The LSC created the Paul Hornung Award in January 2010 in an effort to recognize the distinctive talents of college football's most versatile student-athlete and to preserve the legacy of Hornung, a native and lifelong resident of Louisville who is enshrined in both the College Football and National Football League Halls of Fame.
"Each finalist demonstrated his desire to do whatever his coaches asked to help win football games," said Hornung, 1956 Heisman Trophy winner at Notre Dame and a four-time NFL champion with the Green Bay Packers in the early 1960s. "These guys can run, catch, pass, block, play defense or anchor special teams, and they do it in the big games against the best teams. I am a big fan of all three."
Marecic, a true throwback that started both ways for nearly the entire 2010 season, logged an average of 110 plays per game in the rugged Pacific 10 - equivalent to nearly two full seasons. The Cardinal will play Virginia Tech in the January 3 Orange Bowl.
Kerley, a game changer as a wide receiver and returning kickoffs and punt returns, was named 2010 Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Year and helped lead the Horned Frogs to their second consecutive unbeaten regular season. TCU will face Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.
Cobb, one of the most prolific offensive and special teams threats in the history of the Southeastern Conference, accounted for touchdowns this season catching, running, throwing and returning punts - and held for field goals and PATs. The Wildcats take on Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl on January 8 in Birmingham.
A national selection committee comprised of 16 sports journalists and former NFL stars cast their votes for three candidates using a 5-3-1 point system (1st place - 5 points; 2nd place - 3 points; 3rd place - 1 point). The three finalists accumulated 72% of the overall points; a total of 15 players, including the finalists, received votes. Votes were tabulated by Kentucky-based accounting firm Dean Dorton Allen Ford. The Selection Committee will choose the winner from among the Finalists in early January following the conclusion of the college football bowl schedule.
Other players receiving votes for the inaugural Paul Hornung Award were (in alphabetical order): Dwayne Harris - East Carolina; Jerrel Jernigan - Troy, Damaris Johnson - Tulsa, Julio Jones - Alabama, Colin Kaepernick - Nevada, Cam Newton - Auburn, Eric Page - Toledo, Patrick Peterson - LSU, Trent Richardson - Alabama, Denard Robinson - Michigan, Mohamed Sanu - Rutgers, and Patrick Shed - UAB.
PAUL HORNUNG AWARD FINALISTS BIOS & CONTACT INFO
Stanford Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh called Owen Marecic the "perfect football player." Marecic started at both fullback and linebacker in eight of the Cardinal's 12 games in 2010. He was on the field for approximately 110 plays per game, roughly equivalent to two football seasons. His most remarkable accomplishment came at Notre Dame when, in a matter of 13 seconds, the AFCA First Team All-American rushed for a one-yard touchdown and, on the very next play from scrimmage intercepted a Notre Dame pass and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown. He had a team-high 10 tackles on the road against the relentless offense of the second-ranked Oregon Ducks. A first team Academic All-American majoring in biology, Marecic rushed for four TDs, carried the ball 20 times for 42 yards and caught nine passes for 75 yards during the regular season. He covered the entire field on defense, his 45 tackles ranked sixth among Cardinal defenders. He had 4.5 tackles for a loss, a sack, two interceptions, five pass deflections, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and seven passes defended.
"Electrifying" is how CBS College Football announcer Tim Brando described Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Year Jeremy Kerley, who was one of just two players in the nation to rank in the top 20 in both punt and kickoff returns. The TCU star averaged a career-best 28 yards on kickoff returns and hauled in a team-best and career-high 50 receptions. Kerley tied TCU's single-season record with 10 touchdown receptions among his 13 total touchdowns in 2010, and led the MWC with 123 all-purpose yards per game while tying for third in receptions and seventh in receiving yards. He led TCU receivers in catches in six of his 12 games and completed both his pass attempts for 37 yards, with one of those being a 26-yard scoring toss in a 47-7 win at fifth-ranked Utah. Kerley carried the ball 16 times for 92 yards and two touchdowns.
CONTACT: Mark Cohen, TCU Athletics Media Relations Director
After watching Kentucky's Randall Cobb play wide receiver, quarterback, return punts and kickoffs and hold for field goals and extra points, Chris Low of ESPN.com wrote, "There's not a better all-around football player in America than Cobb." The Kentucky star led SEC receivers with 79 catches for 955 yards and seven touchdowns. At quarterback in the Wildcat formation, Cobb rushed for 401 yards and five touchdowns and threw for three more scores. He also returned a punt for a TD, threw and ran for two-point conversions and set Kentucky's career record for touchdowns. Cobb was named to the All SEC first team as all-purpose player and is the only player in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision to rank first or second on his team in rushing, receiving and passing. Cobb led the SEC and ranked second in the nation in all-purpose yards with averages of 182.7 yards a game and 11.9 yards per play.
CONTACT: Tony Neely, Media Relations Director University of Kentucky Athletics
Created by the Louisville Sports Commission, the Paul Hornung Award is designed to recognize versatile, high-level performers in major college football and help preserve the legacy of one of Kentucky's best-known athletes. Many consider Hornung the best all-around player in the history of college and pro football. He won the 1956 Heisman Trophy at quarterback for Notre Dame and was the No. 1 pick in the 1957 NFL draft. He played every position in the backfield during his career with the Irish, where he also punted, kicked, returned kicks and played defensive back and was a multi-threat offensive back and prolific kicker in the pros. Hornung was a member of four NFL championship teams as an All-Pro halfback for the Green Bay Packers and led the NFL in scoring 1959-60-61, set the single season scoring record in 1960 with 176 points and was named League MVP following the 1961 season. Legendary Packers Coach Vince Lombardi called Hornung, "The most versatile man ever to play the game." A member of the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame and the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame, Hornung resides in his hometown of Louisville, Ky. In the spirit of partnership with Hornung, the Louisville Sports commission oversees and administers all aspects of the Paul Hornung Award, including budget, marketing and PR, banquet, trophy, sponsorships, etc. An advisory committee co-chaired by LSC Chairman Steve Higdon and Executive Director Karl Schmitt and comprised of LSC Board leadership and local business leaders provides guidance and works to ensure the integrity of the award. A panel of experts will select the inaugural winner in early January 2011; the votes are tabulated by Kentucky-based accounting firm Dean Dorton Allen Ford. The winner will be honored at the Paul Hornung Award Banquet presented by Jewish Hospital Sports MedicineJanuary 25, 2011 at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville. For more information go to www.paulhornungaward.com created by LeapFrog Interactive.
Louisville Sports Commission
The Louisville Sports Commission is a Kentucky-based 501-c (3) organization committed to creating a legacy of economic and social vitality through sports. LSC attracts and hosts sporting events and activities that have a positive economic impact on the City, enhance the image of the Louisville area as a premier sports destination, promote healthy lifestyles and improve the quality of life for community members of all ages. More information on the LSC is available online at www.louisvillesports.org and on our Facebook fan page.