Idaho's Veltung May Be Most Versatile in College Football
Justin Veltung averages 9.3 yards per rush and 16.0 yards per reception (Photo: Univ. of Idaho Athletics)
by Idaho Vandals Athletics
The Louisville Sports Commission announced its 2012 Watch List for the Paul Hornung Award on Thursday, and included the University of Idaho's Justin Veltung among the 49 football players on the list.
The Paul Hornung Award is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football. The Watch List is compiled by a panel of college football experts based on 2011 statistics, career performances and expectations heading into the 2012 season.
Veltung fits that bill nicely. The Idaho senior wide receiver and returner was also on the Hornung Award Watch List as a junior in 2011. He has scored a touchdown in four different ways during his Vandal career – rushing, receiving, punt return, kick return – and is Idaho's active career leader in all-purpose yardage at 2,636 in his career.
"I'm very happy and excited for Justin to be recognized in this fashion," Idaho head coach Robb Akey said of Veltung on Thursday. "I think it says a lot for him and his abilities and for this team. I'm anxious for him to have a great senior season and I think if he does do the things he's capable of, he's a guy who could be a finalist for that award."
Always a big play threat, Veltung averages 9.3 yards per rush, 16.0 yards per reception, 16.8 yards per punt return and 22.9 yards per kick return in his career. His career-long rush is 37 yards, reception is 76, punt return is 81 and kick return is 94. He has 13 career touchdowns on 139 career touches – giving him an average of nearly one touchdown per 10 touches at Idaho.
Hornung is widely considered one of the most versatile players in the history of college and professional football. He won the 1956 Heisman Trophy at quarterback for Notre Dame and was the No. 1 pick in the 1957 NFL Draft. He played every backfield position, punted, kicked, returned kicks and also played defensive back for the Irish.
Hornung was the NFL All-Pro halfback for whom Vandal legend Jerry Kramer blocked with the Green Bay Packers in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Hornung led the NFL in scoring three times and was the 1961 League MVP.
"The Paul Hornung Award Watch List for the upcoming season is an impressive group of players who excel at multiple positions to help their teams win, which is how I played the game," Hornung said in the Commission's official release. "It will be interesting to see which players excel during the season and emerge as the top choices of our Selection Committee."
Veltung is one of three Western Athletic Conference players named to the Watch List. He is joined by San Jose State's Chandler Jones and Utah State's Kerwynn Williams. The full Watch List is available online at www.PaulHornungAward.com.
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