Coach Harbaugh and Jabrill Peppers

The Paul Hornung Award


Winner: Tavon Austin

Tavon Austin

West Virginia senior Tavon Austin has been named the winner of the 2012 Paul Hornung Award, presented by Texas Roadhouse, as the most versatile player in major college football. The announcement was made by the Louisville Sports Commission and Paul Hornung.

“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,” 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.

For the second consecutive year, fans made their voice known in the selection of the finalists and winner of the Paul Hornung Award. In 2012, 71,440 votes were cast to select the finalists throughout college football’s regular season. In less than one month, 19,240 votes were cast to choose the award’s winner. The online fan vote accounts for the equivalent of one selection committee member.

Austin finished eighth in Heisman voting, the same award earned by Paul Hornung in 1956. Following the regular season, Austin was also 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.

The Baltimore native was a Paul Hornung Award Weekly Honor Roll Selection on four occasions during the 2012 season and was recognized with the honor once during the 2011 season. The Dunbar High graduate set Maryland High School records for career points (790), touchdowns (123), total offensive yards (9,258) and rushing yards (7,962) during his prolific prep career.

Post- Collegiate Career

Tavon Austin was selected by the St. Louis Rams as the 8th 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.

Banquet Program

Click here to view the program from the 2013 Paul Hornung Award Banquet honoring Tavon Austin.

Banquet Photos

Click here to view all photos from the 2013 Paul Hornung Award Banquet.



Four versatile, offensive and special teams-oriented players who amassed 10,785 all-purpose yards were named finalists for the 2012 Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse. The announcement was made by Louisville-area legend Paul Hornung and the Louisville Sports Commission.

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.

Votes were confirmed by Dean Dorton Allen Ford, PLLC, one of the largest accounting and advisory firms in Kentucky, with offices in Louisville and Lexington.

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.

“These finalists represent the best of the best playmakers in college football,” said award namesake Paul Hornung. “They made a major impact this season for their teams in putting up big numbers and finding the end zone in multiple ways, just like I did when I played the game.”

Antonio Andrews

WKU’s Antonio Andrews compiled one of the top all-purpose seasons in NCAA history. His 2,997 yards ranks third all-time, 273 yards behind Barry Sanders’ 1988 record of 3,250 all-purpose yards. In the 2012 season, Andrews was the only running back in the nation with more than 1,500 yards rushing and 400 yards receiving and the only player in the nation with four 300-yard, all-purpose games. He finished the regular season with 277 carries for 1,609 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, 411 yards receiving on 34 receptions with three touchdowns, 18 punt returns for 230 yards and a touchdown and 26 kickoff returns for 727 yards. He averaged 12.1 yards per reception, 12.8 yards per punt return, 28.0 yards per kickoff return and 5.8 yards per carry and threw a pass for the winning two-point conversation in WKU’s OT victory over Kentucky.

Dri Archer

Kent State’s Dri Archer compiled nearly 2,500 all-purpose yards in leading Kent State to an 11-1 record in the regular season. He was the only player in the nation with a passing, receiving, rushing and kick return touchdown for the 2012 season. Archer had 150 carries for 1,352 yards and 15 touchdowns, 35 receptions for 539 yards and four touchdowns, one punt return, 15 kickoff returns for 573 yards and three touchdowns while also throwing a 24-yard touchdown pass. Archer piled up 38.2 yards per kick return, 15.4 yards per reception and 9.0 yards per rushing attempt. Archer was the only player in the nation with more than 1,300 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving. Only three players in the nation scored more touchdowns than Archer’s 22 in the 2012 season.

Marqise Lee

USC’s Marqise Lee piled up 2,588 yards in 2012, recording 112 receptions for 1,680 yards and 14 touchdowns, 12 carries for 106 yards and 28 kickoff returns for 802 yards and one touchdown. He averaged 215.7 all-purpose yards per game. Lee, the 2012 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, set Pac-12 season records for receptions (112) and receiving yards (1,680). He led the nation in receptions and Pac-12 in receptions, receiving yards, all-purpose yards and kickoff return yards. He scored 15 touchdowns in 2012, including 14 on receptions. The average length of his 15 touchdowns was more than 40 yards per play. Lee has a school-record eight career games with double digit receptions, including a school-record seven in 2012, and six career contests with multiple TDs.

In addition to this year’s four finalists, the following 10 players received votes from the selection committee and/or finished in the top three in the fan voting: Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks, Oregon’s Kenjon Barner, North Carolina’s Giovani Bernard, Louisville’s Adrian Bushell, TCU’s Brandon Carter, Georgia’s Todd Gurley, Miami’s Duke Johnson, Northwestern’s Venric Mark and Clemson’s Sammy Watkins.