LOUISVILLE, Ky. — West Virginia senior Tavon Austin was selected Thursday for the 2012 Paul Hornung Award, symbolizing the most versatile player in major college football.
Austin was one of two players in the nation with more than 500 yards in three statistical categories (rushing, receiving and kick returns) and one of three players with 110 or more catches.
“I am honored and humbled to be selected as the winner of the prestigious Paul Hornung Award,” Austin said in a university release. “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.”
The other finalists for the award were Antonio Andrews of Western Kentucky, Dri Archer from Kent State and Marqise Lee of USC.
Previous winners of the Hornung Award were Stanford’s Owen Marecic in 2011 and Georgia’s Brandon Boykin in 2010.
Austin’s most prolific performance this season came in a 50-49 loss to Oklahoma when he registered 572 all-purpose yards, the second-highest single-game total in FBS history and a Big 12 Conference record. 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.
“I like the way Tavon Austin plays the game,” said 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.”
Austin will be honored on Feb. 15 at the Galt House in downtown Louisville during the annual Paul Hornung Award banquet.