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updated: 7/7/2014 11:30 AM

NIU, Illini, NU land players on Hornung Watch List

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Daily Herald News Services

College football players from Northern Illinois University, Illinois and Northwestern were named to the 2014 Paul Hornung Award Watch List by the Louisville Sports Commission on Monday.

The Hornung Award is presented annually to the most versatile player in college football by the Louisville Sports Commission. On Monday, 47 players were named to the watch list, including Ameer Abdullah (Nebraska), Kenny Bell (Nebraska), V'Angelo Bentley (Illinois), Shilique Calhoun (Michigan State), Stefon Diggs (Maryland), Akeem Hunt (Purdue), Tommylee Lewis (Northern Illinois), Venric Mark (Northwestern), Dontre Wilson, (Ohio State), and Shane Wynn, (Indiana).

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The Big Ten and ACC tied with 10 representatives on the Hornung list, which is now in its fifth season.

Lewis, a native of Riveria Beach, Fla., led NIU in receptions with a career-high 86 for 715 yards last season. He also recorded his school-record fourth career kickoff return for a touchdown in NIU's 55-24 win at Purdue last season.

Bentley, a junior defensive back from Cleveland, Ohio, averaged 15.8 yards per punt return last season along with 21.4 yards per kickoff return. He returned a kickoff 100 yards for one touchdown, and also had a 67-yard punt return for a TD.

Mark, a fifth-year senior running back from Tomball, Texas, was granted a medical hardship waiver for the 2014 season after missing much of the 2013 campaign. He missed NU's first four games because of a hamstring injury, then missed the final six games of the season due to an ankle injury. In 2012, though, he had 1,366 rushing yards (12 touchdowns), 280 punt return yards (2 TDs), and 416 kick return yards.

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