Falcons Jerry 'Boo Boo' Gates Named to 2012 Paul Hornung Award Watch List
Louisville, Ky. - (Thursday, August 2, 2012) - The Louisville Sports Commission today named 49 multi-talented college football players to the 2012 Watch List for the Paul Hornung Award, presented by Texas Roadhouse.
Bowling Green defensive back and kick returner Jerry 'Boo Boo' Gates represents the MAC on this prestigious list.
It would be hard to find a more versatile player in all of college football than Gates. In 2011, in his first year as a starter, Gates finished the season second on the team with 73 tackles from his rover position. He added a team-high two interceptions, added two tackles for loss, one sack, three pass breakups and a forced fumble. As impressive as that was, he may have been even better as a kick returner.
Gates earned second-team All-MAC honors as a kick returner in 2011, finishing the year with 38 returns for 981 yards and a touchdown. His yardage total was the highest single season in BGSU history. Gates added an 88-yard touchdown return versus arch-rival Toledo and had a school record 233 return yards versus West Virginia, including a 77-yard return.
As 2012 begins, Gates is now expected to become even more versatile than last season. The junior will start 2012 at safety, a new position for him. He is also expected to remain the team’s kick returner, while also seeing major action on all phases of special teams.
The Paul Hornung Award, now in its third season, is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football by the Louisville Sports Commission and football legend Paul Hornung.
The 2012 Watch List was compiled by a panel of college football experts based on a combination of 2011 statistics, career performance and expectations heading into the 2012 season. Profiles of each player and information about the Award can be found on www.paulhornungaward.com.
The Watch List is comprised of 25 seniors, 16 juniors and eight sophomores, representing 44 universities and 10 conferences that are part of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The SEC is the leading conference with 12 players followed by the Pac-12 with 10 players. The Big Ten and Big 12 each have six representatives. The USC Trojans have a Watch List leading three representatives while Illinois, Mississippi State and Oregon each have two.
In 2011, players on this year's Paul Hornung Award Watch List accounted for 10,497 rushing yards, 17,112 receiving yards, 20,133 kickoff return yards, 5,320 punt return yards and 735 total tackles. Reminiscent of Hornung during his playing days, members of the Watch List demonstrated a knack for scoring, posting 251 total touchdowns in seven different scoring capacities while compiling 1,474 points a year ago.
"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. "It will be interesting to see which players excel during the season and emerge as the top choices of our Selection Committee."
"We have had the opportunity to welcome two great young men to Louisville as winners of the Paul Hornung Award the past two years, and I believe we are in line to welcome another great player to our community in 2013. I look forward to honoring the winner here in Louisville at one of the best banquets the country has to offer for college football players and their families," said Hornung.
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. Owen Marecic of Stanford, a two-way starter and All Pac-10 performer at fullback and linebacker, won the inaugural Paul Hornung Award; Brandon Boykin of Georgia won the award in 2011 after excelling on defense, offense and special teams.
Texas Roadhouse signed on as presenting sponsor of the Paul Hornung Award in 2011 and will team with the Louisville Sports Commission to power fan voting again this season. College football fans nationwide will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite player during the regular season and again during the bowl season. Fan voting will open in late September and will factor into the selection of the finalists and winner.
Players from all FBS teams are eligible; appearing on the Paul Hornung Award Watch List is not a prerequisite for winning the Award. The Selection Committee, comprised of 16 national sports journalists and former college and NFL players, will narrow the field to a small group of finalists in early December. The winner will be selected in early January from among the finalists following the bowl season.