Wright Jr. named to Paul Hornung Award Watch List

Gold and Blue Nation

(Photo courtesy Texas Tech Athletics)

West Virginia University football junior wide receiver and kickoff returner Winston Wright Jr. was named today to the watch list for the Paul Hornung Award, signifying the most versatile player in college football. 
 
The Paul Hornung Award, now in its 12th season, is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football by the Louisville Sports Commission in the memory of the late football legend and Louisville native Paul Hornung. The winner and his family will be honored at the annual Paul Hornung Award dinner at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville in March 2022.
 
Wright Jr., a native of Savannah, Georgia, has played in 20 career games, including four starts. The 2020 All-Big 12 Second Team selection led the Mountaineers with 47 catches for 553 yards and two touchdowns. He also had 20 kick returns for 425 yards, averaging 21.2 yards per return and had a long of 37 yards. Wright Jr. was also an all-league second team selection by Phil Steele and third team by PFF College.
 
Wright Jr. was fourth in the Big 12 in receptions per game (4.7), fifth in receiving yards per game (55.3), seventh in total receiving yards and fifth in kickoff return average. His top performances were at Texas Tech (nine catches, 126 yards) and at Oklahoma State (six catches, 127 yards, 1 TD) and he had four or more catches in seven games in 2020. His top kickoff performance was against Baylor, registering three returns for 77 yards with a long of 29 yards. His season long return was 37 yards against TCU and he had a 95-yard return for a touchdown as a freshman at Baylor.
 
Former WVU All-American receiver, punt and kickoff returner and NFL veteran Tavon Austin won the 2012 Paul Hornung Award, scoring 17 touchdowns receiving, rushing, returning kicks and punts; and amassing 2,272 all-purpose yards, including 572 yards versus Oklahoma.
 
Hornung, who passed away in his hometown at age 84 on Nov. 13, 2020, played every position in the offensive backfield during his career with the Irish in the 1950s and also played defensive safety, punted, placekicked and returned kickoffs. He was named All-America at quarterback as a senior and won the Heisman Trophy in 1956, then was the first player selected in the NFL draft, going to Green Bay. He earned NFL MVP honors for the Packers in 1961 as a triple-threat halfback and placekicker by setting a single-season NFL scoring record that stood for 46 years. He is a member of the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, and Vince Lombardi once called him, “The most versatile man ever to play the game.”

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