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Ole Miss RB Jaylen Walton named to Hornung Award Watch List

Ole Miss RB Jaylen Walton named to Hornung Award Watch List

Ole Miss senior running back Jaylen Walton joined some elite company Monday morning as he was among 43 other multi-talented college football players to be named to the 2015 Watch List for the Paul Hornung Award. The award is given annually by the Louisville Sports Commission to the most versatile player in major college football.

To determine the prestigious list, a panel of college football experts used a combination of 2014 statistics, career performance, sports information director recommendations, and expectations heading into the 2015-16 season in selecting the 44 players. The Paul Hornung Watch List consists of 18 of the top-100 all-purpose players from 2014 according to yards-per-game average from ncaa.com.

One of Jaylen Walton's touchdowns is celebrated with a lift in the air from Justin Bell. (Photo credit: Bentley Breland, The Rebel Walk)

One of Jaylen Walton’s 18 career touchdowns is celebrated with a lift in the air from Justin Bell. (Photo credit: Bentley Breland, The Rebel Walk)

As a junior last season, Walton finished with 1,176 all-purpose yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry and 10.8 yards after a catch. The Memphis native and former Ridgeway High standout has the following stats heading into his senior year:

  • 1,542 kick return yards
  • 1,227 rushing yards
  • 585 receiving yards
  • 18 career touchdowns

The Paul Hornung Award

hornungThe Paul Hornung Award is given to the most versatile player in major college football by the Louisville Sports Commission and football legend and Louisville native Paul Hornung. The winner and his family will be recognized at the annual Paul Hornung Award Banquet presented by KentuckyOne Health. The award ceremony will be held at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville in February 2016.

The 2015 Paul Hornung Watch List has a total of 11 seniors, 22 juniors, and 11 sophomores, who start at a total of eight different positions. The players reresent 40 universities and all 10 conferences that are part of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision.

The Pac-12 Conference leads the way with eight players, while the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big Ten each have seven players. The Southeastern Conference has a total of six players named. The list also includes four athletes from last season’s first College Football Playoff Championship game: Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson (Ohio State) and Bryon Marshall and Charles Nelson (Oregon).

To illustrate the level of accomplishment of these all-around great athletes, consider this: Players on this year’s list accounted for 9,606 rushing yards, 16,565 receiving yards, 17,941 kickoff return yards, 4,088 punt return yards and 588 total tackles in 2014. The Watch List players also got into the endzone 211 times in seven different styles- passing, rushing, receiving, punt return, kick return, interception and fumble recovery/fumble return.

2014 winner – Shaq Thompson

Washington Huskies linebacker Shaq Thompson was the winner of the 2014 Paul Hornung Award. His versatility is unquestioned: Thompson recorded 71 tackles, scored a school-record four defensive touchdowns

And it would be difficult to argue that last year’s award should have gone to anyone other than Thompson, who recorded 71 tackles, a school-record four defensive touchdowns, while forcing three fumbles as a linebacker–and sometimes safety.  If that wasn’t impressive enough, Thompson also rushed for 456 yards on 61 carries (7.5 yards per rush) as a running back. He was also named first-team All-Pac-12 as an all-purpose special-teams player–and as a linebacker.

Stay tuned to The Rebel Walk as we keep you posted on Jaylen Walton and the rest of this year’s 2015 Paul Hornung Award Watch List.

(Feature image of Jaylen Walton racing past MSU head coach Dan Mullen en route to a touchdown in the 2014 Egg Bowl was taken by Rebel Walk photographer Bentley Breland.)

About The Author

Courtney Smith

Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men's basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with Rivals.com. A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.

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