Mountain West Football: Six Named To 2020 Paul Hornung Award Watch List
The preseason list of college football’s most versatile players includes six from the Mountain West.
The ones who can do it all.
Watch list season continued today with the release of the Paul Hornung Award‘s list of players to follow. Given annually to the nation’s most versatile player, there are six athletes from the Mountain West on this year’s iteration.
Fresno State running back Ronnie Rivers, who also appeared on this list last summer, had his best year yet for the Bulldogs in 2019. He averaged 113.9 all-purpose yards per game last fall, which was fourth-best in the conference, and led all Mountain West running backs with 43 receptions and 16 total touchdowns.
Boise State cornerback Avery Williams, meanwhile, makes the Hornung watch list for the third time. He made the all-conference first team for the first time last fall as a punt returner and was named the conference’s Special Teams Player of the Year after leading the Mountain West with 13.1 yards per punt return, scoring two punt return touchdowns, and blocking two kicks. As a cornerback, he earned an honorable mention by contributing 39 total tackles, four passes defended, and 1.5 tackles for loss.
The biggest names among the first time entrants are Colorado State wide receiver Dante Wright and Nevada running back Toa Taua. Wright burst onto the scene in 2019 and led the conference’s freshmen with 57 catches, 805 receiving yards, and 96.2 all-purpose yards per game while Taua followed up his Freshman of the Year campaign in 2018 by tallying 1,102 all-purpose yards and six total touchdowns.
San Diego State running back Jordan Byrd opened some eyes with a dominant performance in the 2019 New Mexico Bowl, racking up 205 all-purpose yards, but he shouldered kick return duties and a share of the rushing workload all season long. In all, he averaged 21.27 yards per kick return and 7.75 yards per punt return to go along with 355 rushing yards on 78 attempts.
Lastly, Utah State wide receiver Deven Thompkins made noise for the Aggies in the passing game and the return game, finishing the year with 40 catches, 530 receiving yards, and 680 all-purpose yards. Thompkins was also the only player in the conference with a punt return touchdown, a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown, finding the end zone six times in all.
Last year’s Paul Hornung Award winner was Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden.