Kentucky's Lynn Bowden Jr. wins Hornung for versatility

Kentucky do-everything junior Lynn Bowden Jr., who started the 2019 season as a receiver and kick returner and then moved to quarterback because of injuries, is the winner of the Paul Hornung Award, which is presented to the most versatile player in the FBS.

After injuries knocked out the Wildcats' top two quarterbacks, Bowden moved to the position in practice during a bye week in early October. He hadn't played quarterback since high school and learned a read-option offense in two weeks.

In his first start against Arkansas on Oct. 12, Bowden ran for 196 yards with two touchdowns and threw for another score in a 24-20 victory.

Bowden, from Youngstown, Ohio, had at least 100 rushing yards in six of his seven starts at quarterback (he had 99 in a 21-0 loss at Georgia), leading the Wildcats to a 5-2 record to close the regular season.

"I am extremely happy for Lynn because he is so deserving of the Paul Hornung Award," Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said in a statement. "What he was able to do this year -- begin the season with three different responsibilities, then move to quarterback in midseason -- is what the Hornung Award is all about. Lynn's exceptional ability, competitive nature, high football IQ and his willingness to sacrifice for the team were all on display and make him a perfect winner of the award."

Bowden was the only player in the FBS to lead his team in both rushing (1,235 yards with 11 touchdowns) and receiving (30 catches for 348 yards with one score). He also returned eight kickoffs for 200 yards and four punts for 53 yards, and passed for 330 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

He set school records for career and single-season rushing yards by a quarterback and broke the SEC's single-game mark for rushing yards by a quarterback with 284 in a 45-13 decision over Louisville in the regular-season finale.

Bowden led the SEC and ranked eighth nationally in all-purpose yards (not including passing) with 153 per game.

The Wildcats play Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 31 (noon ET, ESPN/ESPN App).

Paul Hornung played for Notre Dame in the 1950s and excelled at fullback, halfback, quarterback and even safety during his career, winning the Heisman Trophy in 1956.