Houston’s Marcus Jones wins Paul Hornung Award

Houston cornerback Marcus Jones (8) returns a kick for a touchdown against Navy during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Justin Rex) (JUSTIN REX, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

University of Houston star Marcus Jones has been named the 2021 Paul Hornung Award winner as college football’s most versatile player.

Jones this season not only was a star cornerback for the 11-2 Cougars, but he also contributed as an All-American return specialist. Off the field, KPRC 2′s Vanessa Richardson also recently reported on Jones’ blossoming music career.

“This award means a lot to me,” Jones said in a UH media release. “I’ve been undersized and overlooked a lot in my life. I just kept my head down and focused on controlling the controllable. Any way I can help the team, I was down for it whether it was extra time spent in meetings or putting in the physical work on the practice field.”

Jones is the only player in the country this year with multiple punt return touchdowns and multiple kick return touchdowns. He averages 34 yards per kickoff return and is fourth in the nation with a 14.4 yard average per punt return.

Defensively, the senior ranks second in the nation with his five interceptions and sixth in passes defended per game at 1.4.

In addition to all this, Jones also played some wide receiver on offense, lining up at receiver and catching 10 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown while carrying the ball twice.

“This honor is well-deserved for Marcus,” Houston Head Coach Dana Holgorsen said in the UH media release. “His ability to impact games in all three phases undoubtedly makes him the most versatile player in the country. We’re proud to have him in our program these last few years. His combination of intelligence and athleticism makes him elite wherever he lines up.”

About the Author:

Born in Canada but raised in Houston, Howard joined KPRC 2 in 2021 after five years at ESPN. Before that, Howard was a reporter on Houston Rockets and Houston Astros game broadcasts. Among the events that Howard has covered on site: the NBA bubble and the Basketball Hall of Fame inductions for both Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. He's H-town proud!