Watch On For Best In College Football

Every year a reminder is needed. What is the Hornung Award? Old-timers remember Paul Hornung as a great pro player at Green Bay. Some remember his career at Notre Dame, where he was the only player on a losing team to win the Heisman Trophy – and the story (maybe true, maybe not) of one of Coach Paul Bryant's assistants wearing a clerical collar in an attempt to recruit Horning to Kentucky.

Hornung was a true all-around player, a college quarterback, pro halfback, kicker, etc., and, therefore, it should be easy to remember that the Hornung Award is presented to the nation's best all-around player. It comes up because as college football award watch lists are being announced, Alabama's Christion Jones is one of 44 nominees for the Hornung Award.

Jones is a 5-11, 185-pound upcoming junior who has played wide receiver, had a few rushes, and been very good as a punt and kickoff return man. That's a long way from the old days of iron man football, playing offense, defense, and special teams, but about par for the modern nominees. Almost all of Jones' career production came last season, when he had 27 pass receptions for 368 yards and four touchdowns; 21 punt returns for 213 yards; and 8 kickoff returns for 213 yards, including a 99-yard runback for a touchdown against Ole Miss. In the spring, Jones had a smattering of work as a defensive back.

We are about halfway through the "watch list" stage of 2013 college football awards. That's the period when most of those who will present post-season awards announce the players they expect to be watching. If it seems like a curious and unnecessary part of a post-season awards process, well, that's because it is. Basically it is just one of the harbingers of the impending college football season and a little publicity for the award, since those on its watch lists come from across the country.

Many come from The University of Alabama, which is no surprise.

Thus far there have been watch lists announced for The Maxwell Award Player of the Year, Bednarik Award (defensive player), Lott (defensive impact player), Mackey (tight end), Rimington (center), Lou Groza (place-kicker), Ray Guy (punter), Bronko Nagurski (defensive), Outland (interior lineman), and Jim Thorpe (defensive back).

A dozen Alabama players are being watched thus far. Next best by an SEC team are seven each from Georgia and Mississippi State. LSU has six.

Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley is on four lists – Lott, Maxwell, Bednarik, and Nagurski.

Junior Tide safety HaHa Clinton-Dix is on three lists – Bednarik, Nagurski, and Thorpe.

Senior cornerback Deion Belue is being watched by Bednarik and Nagurski.

In addition to Jones on the Hornung list, Alabama players on a watch list are:

Sophomore wide receiver Amari Cooper (Maxwell), senior quartrerback A.J. McCarron (Maxwell), soph tailback T.J. Yeldon (Maxwell), senior guard Anthony Steen (Outland), junior offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio (Outland), soph center Ryan Kelly (Rimington), junior tight end Brian Vogler (Mackey), and junior linebacker Adrian Hubbard (Nagurski).

So far, Bama is represented 18 times on the watch lists. The only announced lists to date that have not included a Bama player are Groza and Guy.

Still to come are watch lists for the Butkus Award (linebacker) and Lombardi (lineman) on Monday, Biletnikoff (receiver) on Tuesday, Davey O'Brien (quarterback) on Wednesday, Doak Walker (running back) on Thursday, Walter Camp (outstanding player) on Friday, and Manning (quarterback) on July 31.

(There is no watch list for the Heisman Trophy, which purports to choose the nation's most outstanding player. There is also a Johnny Unitas Award, presented to the nation's top quarterback.)

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