Coach Harbaugh and Jabrill Peppers

The Paul Hornung Award

Selection Process


A panel of college football experts creates a Watch List of approximately 50 players. Additionally, Louisville Sports Commission (LSC) staff and outside experts select and recognize outstanding performers each week during the course of the season. Press releases are distributed to sports journalists throughout the nation and to sports information directors at all FBS schools, and are posted on

After Week 12 of the regular season, a panel of college football experts creates a candidate list of approximately 10-15 players based on performance during the season. The Paul Hornung Award Selection Committee chooses the finalists and ultimately the winner from the candidate list. For the actual selection, a 16-member Selection Committee votes for finalists in mid-November. The Selection Committee chooses the winner in early December from among the finalists after they compete in bowl games.

The essence of the Award – versatility enabling a player to make an impact at numerous positions on the field – suggests that a dynamic list of candidates will emerge as the college football season progresses. With this factor in mind, the Paul Hornung Award Advisory Committee and Selection Committee will adhere to the following timeline for 2015:


July 15 – Develop and publicize an Official Watch List

November 13 – List of candidates supplied to Paul Hornung Award Selection Committee

November 17 – Finalists announced

December 7 – Winner announced

February 2017 – Host winner at official awards banquet in Louisville, Ky.


Selection Criteria

To be eligible, during the selection process a candidate must be in good standing and eligible on his team, eligible with the NCAA and play significant time during most or all of the season. Decisions regarding student-athlete status for the Award will be made by the LSC staff and Advisory Committee. In addition to starting or playing significant downs on offense or defense, candidates will be measured by performance from among one or more of the following:


  • Play multiple positions on offense and/or multiple positions on defense
  • Start as a position player on offense or defense and play a significant role on special teams
  • Perform as a two-way player who starts either on offense or defense, and is used on the other side of the ball in some impactful capacity
  • Demonstrate an extreme, high-level of versatility at one position on a regular basis during the course of the season
  • Make a significant impact during big games and elevate the team’s performance through leadership displayed by excelling in multiple roles


A panel of college football experts will develop an Official Watch List with names added to the list as the season progresses based upon player performance. Selection Committee members will vote for Finalists using a 5-3-1 point system (1st place – 5 points; 2nd place – 3 points; 3rd place – 1 point). A designated number of players with the most points comprises the Finalist List.

Selection Committee members select their top three from the finalist pool, ranked in order 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place. The 5-3-1 point system will be used to determine the winner.

Fan voting accounts for the 17th vote (approximately 6 percent of the overall votes) using the 5-3-1 point system.

The public accounting firm Dean Dorton tabulates the votes for the Finalists and Award winner. Selection Committee voting is conducted via email. Fan voting is conducted online at No member of the LSC board, staff or Hornung Award Advisory Committee will receive or tabulate votes.


2016 Selection Committee Members

The Paul Hornung Award Selection Committee is comprised of college football experts from around the country:

  • Mike Archer, College / professional football coach
  • Tim Brando, CBS Sports play-by-play announcer; host College Football Today
  • Gil Brandt, personnel guru; recognized as pioneer in NFL / college football scouting for Dallas Cowboys
  • Christine Brennan, USA Today national sports columnist; author; commentator ABC News, Fox Sports Radio, ESPN
  • Joe DeLamielleure, All-America OL at Michigan St, NFL Hall of Fame with Buffalo (retired)
  • Emilie Deutsch, CBS Sports
  • Ron Higgins, SEC football writer, The Times-Picayune /
  • Dan Jenkins, Celebrated sports author; Golf Digest; Sports Illustrated (retired)
  • Sam Madison, Sports radio host; retired NFL All Pro DB & Super Bowl NY Giants
  • Ivan Maisel, National columnist and college football editor,; author
  • Jeremy Schaap, ESPN anchor / reporter; ABC News correspondent; author
  • Howard Schnellenberger, retired college and NFL coach
  • Phil Simms, CBS Sports analyst; retired NY Giants All-Pro / Super Bowl MVP QB
  • Phil Steele, College and professional football sports writer and analyst
  • Aaron Taylor, CBS College Sports Network; DL Notre Dame and Green Bay Packers
  • Lesley Visser, CBS Sports reporter, voted No. 1 female sports journalist of all time