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The Paul Hornung Award is given annually to the most versatile athlete in major college football, and this year includes Texas Tech senior linebacker/running back Kenny Williams.
The Watch List is comprised of 22 seniors, 12 juniors and 13 sophomores, representing 43 universities and 10 conferences that are part of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The ACC and Big Ten are tied as the leading conferences with 10 players followed by the Pac-12 with seven players. There are five players from the Big 12 and four from the SEC on the Watch List.
Players on this year’s Paul Hornung Award Watch List accounted for 9,799 rushing yards, 21,281 receiving yards, 18,353 kickoff return yards, 4,104 punt return yards and 346 total tackles in 2013. Reminiscent of Hornung during his playing days, members of the Watch List demonstrated a knack for scoring last season, accounting for 300 total touchdowns in seven different ways – passing, rushing, receiving, punt return, kickoff return, interception and fumble recovery/fumble return.
ESPN.com looks at several Big 12 seniors who need to break out in their final year to push their teams to new heights and impress NFL scouts, including one of Texas Tech’s own.
Receiver Bradley Marquez, Texas Tech
Why he may excel: Marquez finally gets the opportunity to see a bigger role in the Red Raiders’ offense after playing a supplementary role as a junior. And he’s focusing on football instead of spending the summer playing professional baseball. He’s flashed terrific ability, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him emerge as one of the Big 12’s most productive receivers.
Why he may struggle: Marquez saw a lot of one-on-one situations with Jace Amaro and Eric Ward making plays and forcing defenses to account for them last year. If he does start to emerge as a playmaker and garner extra attention, will his production remain steady?