Nebraska wide receiver JD Spielman picked up his second watch list recognition on Thursday, as the junior was named to the 2019 Paul Hornung Award.
Spielman was tabbed for the list for the second consecutive season and is one of 44 players, including eight from the Big Ten, on the initial watch list. The award is presented to the most versatile player in college football. Players on this year’s watch list accounted for 15,343 rushing yards, 18,538 receiving yards, 14,401 kickoff return yards, 2,897 punt return yards and 323 total tackles in 2018. 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 316 total touchdowns in six different ways – rushing; receiving; passing; and returning punts, kickoffs and interceptions.
Spielman, a 5-foot-9, 180-pound wide receiver, has a chance to finish his junior season as the most prolific receiver in school history and has ranked in the top five in the Big Ten in all-purpose yards per game in both seasons as a Husker. He enters his junior campaign needing only 68 catches and 1,099 yards to break NU career records in both categories.
Last season, Spielman hauled in 66 passes for 881 yards and eight touchdowns, despite missing the final two games of the season. He finished on NU’s top-10 single-season list in catches (third), yards (ninth) and touchdowns (seventh). He ranked among the Big Ten leaders in receptions per game (6.6, second), receiving yards per game (81.8, fourth) and all-purpose yards per game (111.5, fifth) en route to earning All-Big Ten honors for the second straight season.
His best performance came against nationally-ranked Wisconsin, when he shattered Nebraska’s single-game receiving record with 209 yards. He is the only player in school history with a 200-yard receiving game. Spielman hauled in 10 passes for 135 yards against Purdue and is the only receiver in school history with multiple double-digit reception games.
Spielman will look to be NU’s first-ever winner of the honor, while Ameer Abdullah was a finalist in 2014. The last three winners have come from the Big Ten, including 2018 recipient Rondale Moore of Purdue. The award will announce five finalists in November with the winner being selected in early December.