Shaq Thompson, the Huskies’ two-way junior star, was named Friday morning the winner of the fifth annual Paul Hornung Award, presented to college football’s most versatile athlete.
He was selected by a panel from the 16-member Louisville Sports Commission, with one first-place vote also coming from an online fan poll. Thompson and his family will be honored on Jan. 27 at the annual Paul Hornung Award Banquet in Louisville, Ky.
A junior from Sacramento, Thompson was named first-team all-Pac-12 at linebacker and first team all-Pac-12 as the all-purpose/special teams player by the league’s coaches. With mounting injuries to UW’s regular running backs, Thompson was started three games on offense, leading the Huskies’ in rushing three times and twice hit the century mark — 16 carries for 174 yards versus Colorado and 15 carries for 100 yards versus UCLA.
He finished the regular season as the second-leading rusher for the Huskies with 456 yards and two touchdowns.
As an outside linebacker, he shared the national lead for fumble recoveries with four and his four touchdown returns (three on fumbles, one after an interception) are the most by a college football player in the past decade, according to ESPN research.
Thompson played in six games on offense, recorded 512 total offensive yards.
Against Illinois in September, Thompson became the first Husky to return a fumble for a touchdown and an interception for a touchdown in the same game. He also had a 100-yard fumble return for a touchdown in UW’s victory at Cal.