2012 WINNER – TAVON AUSTIN (West Virginia)
West Virginia senior Tavon Austin was named the winner of the 2012 Paul Hornung Award, presented by Texas Roadhouse, as the most versatile player in major college football.
“I am honored and humbled to be selected as the winner of the prestigious Paul Hornung Award,” said Austin. “Whether I am on the field as a receiver, in the backfield or as a returner, I have high expectations for myself, and I have always tried to use my versatility to help my team be successful. I want to thank my coaches and teammates for helping me achieve this honor.”
“I like the way Tavon Austin plays the game,” said Paul Hornung. “He is tough, he generates yardage almost every way possible and has a nose for the end zone. Tavon Austin is a deserving winner of the Paul Hornung Award.”
“Tavon’s play on the field defines versatility, and as I said during the season, he was the most dangerous player in the nation with the ball in his hands,” WVU Head Coach Dana Holgorsen said. “He is deserving of such a prestigious honor, and the program, the University and the state are very proud of him and his accomplishment.”
Austin was chosen as the Paul Hornung Award winner from among four finalists by a 16-member national Selection Committee comprised of sports journalists and retired NFL players, and secured an additional first place vote from online fan voting, which accounts for the equivalent of one selection committee member.. On Dec. 7, Austin, Antonio Andrews (Western Kentucky), Dri Archer (Kent State) and Marqise Lee (USC) were named as Paul Hornung Award finalists.
Austin finished eighth in Heisman voting, the same award earned by Paul Hornung in 1956. Following the regular season, Austin was named an All-America selection by various outlets, including the Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Sports Illustrated and Pro Football Weekly. He was also selected as the Big 12 Co-Special Teams Player of the Year and the Player of the Year by the Austin-American Statesman.
Austin By The Numbers
Austin excelled throughout the 2012 season as one of the nation’s most prolific all-purpose offensive and special teams players during the Mountaineers’ inaugural season in the Big 12 Conference. He was one of two players in the nation with more than 500 yards in three different statistical categories (rushing, receiving and kick returns) and one of three players in the nation with 110 or more catches.
On Nov. 17 against the University of Oklahoma, Austin recorded his most prolific performance of the 2012 season when he registered an astounding 572 all-purpose yards, the second-highest total all-purpose yards in a single game in FBS history and a Big 12 Conference record. In the 50-49 shootout loss to the Sooners, Austin set West Virginia’s single-game rushing record with 344 yards, and his two rushing touchdowns made him the first Mountaineer in school history to score a touchdown four different ways (receiving, rushing, kick, and punt return) in one season.
For the 2012 season, Austin compiled 2,910 all-purpose yards, an average of 223.8 yards per game. His average yards per game was 80 more than any other player in the Big 12 Conference and the second-best mark in the nation. Austin ran for 643 yards on 72 carries with three touchdowns, caught 114 passes for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns, had 32 kick returns for 813 yards with a touchdown, and returned 15 punts for 165 yards and a touchdown. Austin closed out his collegiate career with 150 all-purpose yards in West Virginia’s Pinstripe Bowl appearance on Dec. 29.
Under the direction of head coach Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia finished 2012 with a 7-6 record, including wins over No. 25 Baylor and on the road at No. 11 Texas. The Mountaineers were one-point shy of beating No. 13 Oklahoma in late November and suffered an overtime defeat against TCU. Austin helped the Mountaineers score at least 42 points on six occasions.
Post- Collegiate Career
Tavon Austin was selected by the St. Louis Rams as the eighth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. As a wide receiver with the Rams in 2013 Austin racked up 151 rushing yards, 418 receiving yards, and 678 return yards on kick and punt returns. In 2014, Austin continued to make his mark on the league and was named an alternate returner for the Pro Bowl.
Click here to view the program from the 2013 Paul Hornung Award Banquet honoring Tavon Austin.
Click here to view all photos from the 2013 Paul Hornung Award Banquet.
Four versatile, offensive and special teams-oriented players were named finalists for the 2012 Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse. Antonio Andrews (Western Kentucky University), Dri Archer (Kent State University), Tavon Austin (West Virginia University) and Marqise Lee (University of Southern California) were selected finalists for the award by a vote of 16 elite media members and football personalities as well as an online fan vote.
The four finalists for the 2012 Paul Hornung Award added to their 10,785 all-purpose yards this season with 70 total touchdowns in five different offensive or special teams’ categories. Paul Hornung Award finalists accounted for nine of the top 15 single-game, all-purpose yardage performances this season.
Western Kentucky University running back Antonio Andrews finished his stellar junior campaign with 3,161 all-purpose yards, a total that ranks second in FBS history behind only Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders (1988). Andrews led the nation in all-purpose yards and all-purpose yards per game (243.2) while also setting single-season WKU records for rushing yards (1,728) and 100-yard games (10). He was the only player in the nation to record more than 1,600 rushing yards and 400 yards receiving. The SI.com All-American capped his breakout season with 119 rushing yards in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and fell 88 yards shy of breaking the single-season all-purpose yardage record. He finished the 2012 season with 15 total touchdowns via 1,728 yards rushing, 432 yards receiving, and 1,001 yards returning punts and kicks.
Kent State running back Dri Archer burst onto the scene as a dynamic playmaker for the Golden Flashes in 2012, compiling 2,577 all-purpose yards and 23 total touchdowns. The do-it-all speedster was the only player in the country with a passing, rushing, receiving and kick return touchdown this season, and only five players found the end zone more than Archer. He racked up 117 all-purpose yards and a touchdown in Kent State’s GoDaddy.com Bowl appearance. Archer’s versatility landed him on the Associated Press, SI.com and ESPN.com All-American teams. Archer ended the year with 1,429 rushing yards, 561 yards receiving and 591 kickoff return yards. He joins West Virginia’s Tavon Austin as the only players with more than 500 yards in three different statistical categories this season.
USC wide receiver Marqise Lee posted Pac-12 single-season records with 118 receptions and 1,721 receiving yards during his sophomore season. Lee totaled 15 touchdowns, with the average length of his scores being more than 40 yards. He finished the season with 2,683 all-purpose yards, a figure that ranked third in the nation. In the Hyundai Sun Bowl, Lee hauled in six catches for 41 yards, extending his national-best reception mark to 118. Lee was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and landed on various first-team All-American squads including the Associated Press, SI.com and ESPN.com. Lee’s fourth-place finish in the Heisman Trophy voting was the highest of any wide receiver since Pittsburgh’s Larry Fitzgerald finished second in 2003.