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August 17, 2010Senior running back Daniel Thomas was named to the watch list for the inaugural Paul Hornung Award, the Louisville Sports Commission announced Tuesday.
The award recognizes the most versatile player in major college football as the 48 players on the watch list had a minimum of three different "touches" in 2009 - either catching, running, passing, returning kicks, returning punts, holding for placements, tackling, defending passes or recovering a fumble.
Thomas was one of just three Big 12 players on the list as he was joined by Ryan Broyles of Oklahoma and Niles Paul of Nebraska.
The award is named after Paul Hornung, a Louisville, Ky., native, who was considered the most versatile player in the history of college football, winning the 1956 Heisman Trophy at quarterback for Notre Dame while also playing every position in the backfield during his career with the Irish. He also punted, kicked, returned kicks and played defensive back before a nine-year professional career that ended with a selection into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
Thomas, who picked up his fifth preseason honor, led the Big 12 Conference last season with 1,265 rushing yards and a league-high 11 touchdowns. The 2009 Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year recorded the fourth-highest rushing total in school history and the second-highest among juniors.
The Hilliard, Fla., product was involved in 34.4-percent (276-of-802) of K-State's offensive plays in 2009 as he rushed 247 times, caught 25 passes for 257 yards and was also 3-for-4 passing for 50 yards and one touchdown. A converted quarterback, Thomas also returned one kickoff for 25 yards and threw a pass for a successful two-point conversion.
Thomas and the Wildcats open the 2010 season with a nationally-televised matchup against UCLA September 4. Fewer than 3,000 seats remain available as the Wildcats look to sell out the Second Annual K-State Family Reunion.