Jan. 10, 2011
LOUISVILLE, KY -- A throwback to another era, two-way starter Owen Marecic of Stanford University was selected the inaugural winner of the Paul Hornung Award as the most versatile player in major college football, it was announced today by the Louisville Sports Commission and Paul Hornung.
The Cardinal senior started in all 13 Stanford games, nine on both sides of the ball, earning first team All-Pac 10 honors at fullback and honorable mention at linebacker. He logged an average of 110 plays per game - equivalent to nearly two full seasons - and was the only two-way starting player among Football Bowl Subdivision teams in 2010. Marecic was named American Football Coaches Association First Team All-America as the All-Purpose Player.
"I am honored to accept an award that commemorates Mr. Paul Hornung," Marecic said. "Mr. Hornung epitomizes what it means to be a football player not only with his talents and versatility but also with his devotion to his teammates and his drive to excel."
A senior biology major from Tigard, Oregon, Marecic helped lead the Cardinal to a school record 12-1 season, including a 40-12 win over Virginia Tech in the Discover Orange Bowl. He recorded six tackles, a sack for minus 11 yards and scored on a one-yard TD plunge that increased Stanford's third quarter lead over VPI to 19-12.
Marecic was chosen Paul Hornung Award winner from among three finalists by a 16-member national Selection Committee comprised of sports journalists and retired NFL players. On December 10, the Selection Committee chose Marecic, Randall Cobb of Kentucky and Jeremy Kerley of TCU as Paul Hornung Award finalists.
"It is humbling to be included in a group with such great talent," Marecic added. "Randall Cobb and Jeremy Kerley are more than deserving of their recognition and their actions on the field have benefited their teams greatly and have challenged others to excel in the sport."
Paul Hornung lauded the finalists and the winner. "I want to congratulate all three players, each had a sensational year," Hornung said. "Owen Marecic was fantastic throughout the season and in the Orange Bowl. He is a complete football player - relentless, fearless and tough. He makes plays on defense, has a nose for the end zone and swallows up defenders as a blocker."
On the season, Marecic rushed 23 times for 46 yards and five TDS and was fifth leading tackler with 51 stops. A bruising blocker, he also paved the way for the Cardinal to average 213.8 yards per game on the ground, which ranked 19th-best in the nation. On defense, he recorded 5.5 tackles-for-loss, two sacks, two interceptions, five pass breakups and one fumble recovery. Marecic earned honorable mention All-America, first team All-Pac-10 Academic honors and second team ESPN/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors and was a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, awarded to the top scholar-athlete in college football.
Marecic also was quick to share accolades with those closest to him. "I would like to thank my family, my teammates, my coaches, and Stanford University," he said. "They are the true recipients of the award because without their continued support I could not be recognized for such a great honor."
Marecic had a day to remember this season on the road at Notre Dame when he scored touchdowns on both sides of the ball on back-to-back plays from scrimmage. He capped an 11-play, 49-yard scoring drive with a one-yard TD run and following the ensuing kickoff intercepted a Dayne Crist pass and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown to give Stanford a 34-6 lead. In another memorable outing, he accounted for both of Stanford's touchdowns and three tackles in a 17-13 win at Arizona State. He also had a career-best 10 tackles at Oregon in the Cardinal's only loss of the season.
Marecic also caught the attention of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institute. Rice mentioned Marecic's exploits to veteran anchor Katie Couric, who featured the Cardinal senior the day after the Orange Bowl victory on January 5 on the CBS Evening News.
Paul Hornung Award
Created by the Louisville Sports Commission, the Paul Hornung Award is designed to recognize versatile, high-level performers in major college football and help preserve the legacy of one of Kentucky's best-known athletes. A national selection committee comprised of 16 sports journalists and former NFL stars votes for the winner, and the votes are tabulated independently by regional accounting firm Dean Dorton Allen Ford. The winner will be honored in Louisville at the Paul Hornung Award Banquet presented by Jewish Hospital Sports Medicine. In the spirit of partnership with Paul Hornung, the Louisville Sports commission (LSC) oversees all administrative aspects Award. The Paul Hornung Award Advisory Committee, comprised of LSC Board leadership and local business leaders, is co-chaired by LSC Chairman Steve Higdon and Executive Director Karl Schmitt. For more information visit: www.paulhornungaward.com
Paul Hornung Award Selection Committee
Mark Blaudschun, Boston Globe
Tim Brando, CBS Sports
Gil Brandt, NFL.com
Christine Brennan, USA Toda
Joe DeLamielleure, NFL All Pro offensive lineman (retired)
Ron Higgins, Memphis Commercial Appeal
Dan Jenkins, Celebrated sports author
Sam Madison, NFL All Pro defensive back (retired)
Ivan Maisel, ESPN.com
Jeremy Schaap, ESPN
George Schroeder, Eugene Register Guard
Phil Simms, CBS Sports
Aaron Taylor, CBS College Sports
Lesley Visser, CBS Sports
Kelly Whiteside, USA Today
Will Wolford, NFL All Pro offensive lineman (retired)
Paul Hornung is considered by many the best all-around player in the history of college and pro 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 position in the backfield during his career with the Irish, where he also punted, kicked, returned kicks and played defensive back. Hornung was a multi-threat, all-pro halfback and prolific kicker as a member of four NFL championship teams for the Green Bay Packers. He led the NFL in scoring 1959-60-61, set the single season scoring record in 1960 with 176 points and was named League MVP following the 1960 and 1961 seasons. Legendary Packers Coach Vince Lombardi called Hornung, "The most versatile man ever to play the game." Paul is enshrined in the National High School Hall of Fame, College and Pro Football Halls of Fame and the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame and resides in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, Angela.
Louisville Sports Commission
The Louisville Sports Commission is a Louisville, Kentucky-based 501-c (3) organization committed to creating a legacy of economic and social vitality through sports. LSC attracts, hosts and owns sporting events and activities that have a positive economic impact on the City, enhance the image of the Louisville area as a premier sports destination, promote healthy lifestyles and improve the quality of life for community members of all ages. More information on the LSC is available at www.louisvillesports.org and on our Facebook fan page.