Credit - Florida State Athletics

IU football transfer WR D.J. Matthews is on the Paul Hornung Award watch list

The preseason recognition continues to roll in for IU football.

Florida State transfer wide receiver D.J. Matthews was named to the Paul Hornung Award watch list on Thursday.

The Paul Hornung Award is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football.  Matthews is expected to be a factor for IU as both a receiver and in the return game.

Here is the current list of IU players and coaches on preseason watch lists and other honors.

  • Dodd Trophy – Tom Allen
  • Maxwell Award – Ty Fryfogle, Michael Penix Jr.
  • Bednarik Award – Micah McFadden, Tiawan Mullen
  • Davey O’Brien Award – Michael Penix Jr.
  • Doak Walker Award – Stephen Carr
  • B1G Preseason Honors – Michael Penix Jr.
  • Biletnikoff Award – Ty Fryfogle
  • John Mackey Award – Peyton Hendershot
  • Jim Thorpe Award – Tiawan Mullen
  • Butkus Award – Micah McFadden
  • Bronko Nagurski – Micah McFadden, Tiawan Mullen
  • Outland Trophy – Matthew Bedford
  • Lou Groza Award – Charles Campbell
  • Wuerffel Trophy – Michael Ziemba
  • Paul Hornung Award – D.J. Matthews Jr.

The complete release on Matthews and the Paul Hornung Award from IU Athletics follows.

See also:  D.J. Matthews getting to work at Oladipo’s school


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana graduate student wide receiver/return specialist D.J. Matthews Jr. is on the Watch List for the Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse, the Louisville Sports Commission announced on Thursday morning.

Matthews Jr. enrolled in 2021 spring classes and participated in practice. He joined the program as a transfer from Florida State University on Dec. 16, 2021.

Matthews ranks 10th at FSU with 582 career punt return yards and 56 returns, and he holds two of the Top-4 single-game marks. In 35 games (16 starts), Matthews owns 84 receptions for 809 yards and five touchdowns to go along with one punt return TD.

He earned an interdisciplinary social science degree in Dec. 2020.

The Paul Hornung Award, now in its 12th season, is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football by the Louisville Sports Commission in the memory of the late football legend and Louisville native Paul Hornung. The winner and his family will be honored at the annual Paul Hornung Award dinner at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville in March 2021.

The 2021 Watch List players represent 53 universities from all 10 football conferences, plus four independent schools, that are part of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. The SEC leads the conferences with nine players; the Big Ten and Big 12 each landed eight players; C-USA, Mountain West and Pac 12 each have five players; the AAC and ACC have four; and the MAC and Sun Belt have three each. Independents Army, BYU, Liberty and Notre Dame each have one player on the list.

The Paul Hornung Award has created an impressive legacy in 11 years including seven winners who were first round NFL draft picks – DeVonta Smith, Tavon Austin, Odell Beckham Jr., Shaq Thompson, Christian McCaffrey, Jabrill Peppers and Saquon Barkley.

In 2020, players on the Watch List accounted for more than 39,000 total yards. 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 240 total touchdowns in five different ways – 105 rushing, 112 receiving, two passing, 16 returning kickoffs and five returning punts.

“We created this award as a way to reward college players who selflessly take on the burden of playing multiple positions, and excel at a high level the way Paul Hornung did for Notre Dame and the Green Bay Packers,” said Karl Schmitt Jr., president and CEO of the Louisville Sports Commission, owners and operators of the Award. “In addition, we wanted to introduce young players to the legacy of Hornung, who said he would do anything his coach asked of him to help his team win games.”

Hornung, who passed away in his hometown at age 84 on Nov. 13, 2020, played every position in the offensive backfield during his career with the Irish in the 1950s and also played defensive safety, punted, placekicked and returned kickoffs. He was named All-America at quarterback as a senior and won the Heisman Trophy in 1956, then was the first player selected in the NFL draft, going to Green Bay. He earned NFL MVP honors for the Packers in 1961 as a triple-threat halfback and placekicker by setting a single-season NFL scoring record that stood for 46 years. He is a member of the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, and Vince Lombardi once called him, “The most versatile man ever to play the game.”

The 2021 Watch List was compiled by a panel of college football experts based on a combination of 2020 statistics, career performance, SID recommendations and expectations heading into the 2021 season. In addition to the Watch List, the Paul Hornung Award Weekly Honor Roll will recognize players whose performances during the regular season meet the Award’s criteria. Players from both the Watch List and the Honor Roll will be eligible to win the Award.

The Louisville Sports Commission successfully launched the Paul Hornung Award in 2010 to honor its namesake and native son, and to promote outstanding performances by versatile college football players who often go unnoticed. Each week during the regular season, a panel of college football experts selects players for the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll based on performance. A national selection committee comprised of 17 sports journalists and former NFL stars votes for the Hornung Award finalists and the winner, with fan voting powered by Texas Roadhouse comprising the 18th vote. Regional accounting firm Dean Dorton independently tabulates all votes. For more information, visit Fans also can follow online on Twitter (@hornungaward) and Become a Fan on Facebook.

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