Paul Hornung Award victor is Saquon Barkley

Nov 25 2017 College Park MD USA Penn State kick returner Saquon Barkley runs the ball against the Maryland Terrapins defense at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Barkley, who is projected to be a top pick this April in the 2018 NFL Draft, was also risky in the return game, taking two kickoffs back for scores and averaging 28 yards per return. He also caught three touchdown passes, returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and completed one pass for a score.

It was announced Wednesday morning by the Louisville Sports Commission.

While not a Heisman Trophy finalist, Barkley has had a spectacular season in which he has scored a touchdown in four different ways.

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley - one of the most electric college football players in recent memory - is widely expected to be a top-five pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. I have to give a lot of the credit to my teammates and coaches, they are the reason that I am in position to win this award and I could not have done it without them. He is the second player in Big Ten history to win three major conference awards, joining last year's Paul Hornung Award victor, Michigan's Jabrill Peppers (Defensive Player of the Year, Linebacker of the Year, Return Specialist of the Year). He also threw a touchdown pass. I couldn't be more proud of Saquon and everything he has accomplished at Penn State.

Barkley was announced Wednesday as the 2017 Paul Hornung Award victor, a trophy that goes to the nation's most versatile player.

Barkley's coach, James Franklin, said he has "never coached or seen a player who can affect the game the way Saquon Barkley does".

Iowa State starting quarterback Kyle Kempt and top receiver Allen Lazard came to the defense of Lanning, who they felt should have won the honor. He was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight season and also was chosen as the conference's Running Back of the Year and Return Specialist of the Year.

Barkley is also a finalist for the Maxwell, Walter Camp and Doak Walker Awards.

Quarterback Trace McSorley, tight end Mike Gesicki, wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton and punter Blake Gillikin represented the Lions on the second team.

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