LEXINGTON – University of Kentucky sophomore running back Stanley “Boom” Williams has been named one of 44 players to the 2015 Paul Hornung Award Watch List, which annually honors the most versatile player in college football, the Louisville Sports Commission announced Monday.
The winner and his family will be honored at the annual Paul Hornung Award Banquet presented by KentuckyOne Health, to be held at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville in February 2016. The 2015 Watch List was compiled by a panel of college football experts based on a combination of 2014 statistics, career performance, SID recommendations and expectations heading into the 2015 season. Profiles of each player and information about the Award can be found at www.paulhornungaward.com. Players may be added to the Watch List during the 2015 regular season based on performance.
The Paul Hornung Award Watch List contains 18 of the top 100 all-purpose players from 2014, according to yards-per-game average from NCAA.com. The watch list is comprised of 11 seniors, 22 juniors and 11 sophomores who start at a total of eight different positions and represent 40 universities and all 10 conferences that are part of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The Pac-12 leads the conferences with eight players followed by the ACC and Big Ten with seven players and the SEC with six players.
Players on this year’s Paul Hornung Award Watch 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. Reminiscent of Hornung during his playing days, members of the Watch List demonstrated a knack for scoring numerous ways. Last season the watch list players combined for 211 total touchdowns in seven different ways – passing, rushing, receiving, punt return, kickoff return, interception and fumble recovery/fumble return.
Williams, who was named to The Sporting News All-True Freshman Team last season, led Kentucky in kickoff returns with 19 returns for 511 yards and a 26.9 average last season. Williams ranked second in the nation among true freshmen in kickoff return average, checking in 11th overall. Williams’ longest return of the season was 75 yards against ULM, marking the longest kickoff return for Kentucky since 2009. A native of Monroe, Ga., Williams led Kentucky in all-purpose yards with 1,159, averaging 115.9 yards per game. That total ranked him 59th nationally and sixth among freshmen.
On the offensive side of the ball, Williams led Kentucky in rushing with 486 yards and five touchdowns, including a very impressive 6.6 yards per carry. Williams was one of only 10 players in the nation who had three touchdown rushes of 50+ yards in 2014. The George Walton Academy product had a career-best 126 yards and two touchdowns at Louisville. Williams also caught 17 passes for 162 yards and one touchdown.