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Boykin, Heyman Honored at Paul Hornung Award Banquet
Louisville, Ky. (Thursday, February 2, 2012) – Georgia senior Brandon Boykin was honored tonight as winner of the 2011 Paul Hornung Award, presented by Texas Roadhouse. More than 600 people gathered at the sold-out Paul Hornung Award Banquet, presented by Jewish Hospital Sports Medicine, held at the Galt House in downtown Louisville.
“It's an amazing accomplishment," said Boykin. "I found out that I won in early January. It means a lot to me and I am very excited to be here with Mr. Hornung tonight. It's a great honor."
In addition, NFL legend Mike Ditka addressed the crowd and University of Louisville senior Dexter Heyman was honored as the 2011 winner of the Howard Schnellenberger Award for his MVP performance in the annual game between University of Louisville and University of Kentucky.
Other dignitaries in attendance for the evening’s event included Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Georgia head coach Mark Richt, Louisville assistant coach Vance Bedford, 2010 Paul Hornung Award winner Owen Marecic (Cleveland Browns), Frank Minnifield and Paul Hornung Award selection committee members Christine Brennan (USA Today), Will Wolford (NFL All-Pro) and Gil Brandt (NFL.com).
Boykin’s versatility was showcased throughout the 2011 season across the field and the members of the Paul Hornung Award Selection Committee took notice. Boykin saw action as a starter at cornerback, kickoff returner, punt returner, tailback, quarterback in a "wild-dog" set, receiver, coverage man on kickoff and punt teams, and holder on a kickoff. Boykin scored in all three facets of the game along the way: offense, defense and special teams.
On special teams, Boykin enjoyed one of the Southeastern Conference’s most successful careers. He finished as the top kickoff return man in conference history, including 38 returns for 850 yards in 2011. He also had 14 punt returns for 180 yards and a touchdown in his senior campaign. On defense, Boykin was a lockdown cornerback. He had three interceptions and nine pass breakups in the secondary while compiling 55 tackles, including 11.0 for loss. He forced two fumbles and also recorded a safety in the postseason matchup with Michigan State on a solo tackle. On offense, Boykin was a threat to score for opposing defense. He scored on 25 percent of his offensive touches. Boykin had seven carries for 103 yards and a touchdown and five receptions for 71 yards and two touchdowns.
“I told him last night that he reminds me of Charles Woodson," said Hornung. "But I think that your going to play longer than him. He is an amazing athlete and I look forward to watching him for years to come.”
Hornung, whose goal has always been to host one of the nation’s finest college football award banquets in his native Louisville, welcomed Mike Ditka as keynote speaker for the event.
Ditka, a native of Aliquippa, Pa., All-American at University of Pittsburgh and first tight end inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, spoke to the crowd assembled in downtown Louisville. Ditka has displayed a unique type of versatility of his own as he is one of two people to win Super Bowls three different ways – as player, then as assistant coach for the Dallas Cowboys and as head coach of the Bears.
Additionally, Louisville native Dexter Heyman was honored as the Howard Schnellenberger Award winner. Schnellenberger, the former Kentucky player and Louisville coach, was present for the event.
Heyman, a senior linebacker and graduate of Louisville’s Male High School, was selected by a vote of the working press covering the game as identified by the sports information directors from each school. Heyman led the Cardinals defensive attack with 12 tackles, one off his career high, and a forced fumble. It was the third forced fumble of his career and first since 2009.
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.
Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse
Created by the Louisville Sports Commission in 2010, the Paul Hornung Award is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football. The Award is designed to promote college football and help preserve the legacy of one of Kentucky's best-known and accomplished athletes who has always called Louisville home. Hornung, the 1956 Heisman Trophy winner at Notre Dame and NFL MVP for the Green Bay Packers, set a single season NFL scoring record that stood 46 years. Paul is a member of the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, and Vince Lombardi once called Hornung, “The most versatile man ever to play the game.” A national selection committee comprised of 16 sports journalists and former NFL stars votes for the Hornung Award, and this year fan voting on Facebook will comprise the 17th vote. All votes are tabulated independently by regional accounting firm Dean Dorton Allen Ford. The winner is honored at a banquet presented by Jewish Hospital Sports Medicine in late January each year in downtown Louisville. For more information, visit www.paulhornungaward.com Fans can also follow online on Twitter (@hornungaward) and Become a Fan on Facebook.
Louisville Sports Commission
The Louisville Sports Commission is a Kentucky-based 501 c-3 organization whose mission is to attract, host and create quality sporting events and activities in the Louisville area that increase economic vitality; enhance the quality of life; promote healthy lifestyles; and brand Louisville as a great place to live, work and play. For more information, visit www.louisvillesports.org and follow the Louisville Sports Commission on Twitter (@SportsinLou) and Become a Fan on Facebook.