Tyler Vaughns finally receives some preseason recognition. The redshirt junior wide receiver was named to the Paul Hornung Award preseason watch list Thursday morning. The award is named after the NFL Hall of Famer for his versatile career as a quarterback, place kicker, and halfback with the Green Bay Packers and in College with Notre Dame. It recognizes and rewards high level performers and versatile players in college football.
Last season Vaughns pulled double duty for the Trojans, starting at wide receiver and returning punts. In 12 games played Vaughns was had a team leading 6 touchdown receptions which was also held by senior wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. He also was second on the team in reception with 58, 678 receiving yards, and threw a 38 yard touchdown pass last season. As a punt returner, Vaughns has gained 199 yards on 19 punt returns with his lone touchdown coming in a loss against Arizona State.
Vaughns will have a chance to fully take advantage of his playmaking skills in Graham Harrell’s air raid offense. The new scheme calls for simplicity and allowing for players to make plays. The redshirt junior could benefit in Harrell’s offense in a huge way. The honor does not come as a surprise considering what Vaughns can contribute to USC. Projected as a starter on both special teams and on offense, Vaughns brings a big play ability to the Trojans.
Vaughns will look to prove many wrong as he was left off the Biletnikoff Award watch list last week and was an All Pac-12 preseason honorable mention on Wednesday. He could play his way towards both honors should he replicate his 2017 breakout season.
No Trojan has won the Hornung Award since the Louisville Sports Commission started handing out the award in 2010. Former Trojans wide receiver Marqsie Lee was a finalist in 2012 during his outstanding season while cornerback Adoree Jackson was a finalist in back to back years (2015 and 2016). Stanford linebacker and fullback Owen Marecic was the first Hornung Award winner.