University of Louisville’s Jaire Alexander was recognized on Monday as one the nation’s top 46 multi-talented college football players on the 2017 Watch List for the Paul Hornung Award, presented by Texas Roadhouse.

The Paul Hornung Award, now in its eighth season, is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football by the Louisville Sports Commission, and football legend and Louisville native Paul Hornung.

Alexander, a junior, also is on the Jim Thorpe, Chuck Bednarik and Bronko Nagurski preseason watch lists.

A Charlotte, N.C., native, Alexander is widely considered one of the most versatile performers, excelling as one of the nation’s top cornerbacks and punt returners. He accounted for 261 all-purpose yards last season in his dual role.

On defense, Alexander started all 13 games in 2016, earning second-team all-ACC honors. He led the team with five interceptions, including two against Clemson and two more versus Virginia. The Charlotte, N.C., native also had 39 tackles and one forced fumble.

As a punt returner, Alexander was a huge weapon in the return game, ranking 15th in the country with a 10.5 yard return average and returned one punt for a touchdown. In a win over second-ranked Florida State, Alexander finished with 130 returns yards – the second-most in school history. He returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown and added a 61-yarder in the

The winner and his family will be honored at the annual Paul Hornung Award Banquet, presented by KentuckyOne Health. The ceremony is being held at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville on March 8. This will be The Paul Hornung Award’s second year as an associate member of the prestigious National College Football Awards Association.

The 2017 Watch List is comprised of one graduate student, 23 seniors, 19 juniors, and three sophomores, who play a total of nine different positions. They represent 45 universities in 28 states coast-to-coast across the 10 conferences that are part of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

The ACC leads the conferences with 10 players, followed by the SEC with eight players, and the Big Ten with five players.

Players on this year’s Watch List accounted for 10,724 rushing yards, 16,853 receiving yards, 13,548 kickoff return yards, 4,092 punt return yards, and 394 total tackles in 2016. 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 291 total touchdowns in six different ways – passing, rushing, receiving, punt return, kickoff return, and interception.

The 2017 Watch List was compiled by a panel of college football experts based on a combination of 2016 statistics, career performance, SID recommendations, and expectations heading into the 2017 season

by Rocco Gasparro