AMES, Iowa – Iowa State senior linebacker/quarterback Joel Lanning is one of four finalists for the Paul Hornung Award, announced Thursday cyby the Louisville Sports Commission.
The Paul Hornung Award is given annually to the nation’s most versatile college football player who makes an impact at numerous positions on the field.
The Hornung Award selection committee will choose between Lanning, Saquon Barkley (Penn State), Dante Pettis (Washington) and Nyheim Hines (NC State). The winner will be announced on Dec. 6.
“The kid (Lanning) has played over 700 snaps of football. That’s unheard of,” Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said. “He’s as great of a competitor and warrior I have ever been around in this sport. You can’t put into words what Joel has done for this football program. It’s tough to walk on Sundays for Joel Lanning when you consider all the things he is doing for us.”
A true three-way player, Lanning has had a remarkable senior season leading the Cyclones into the national rankings for the first time since 2005.
The two-time team captain switched to linebacker prior to the 2017 season after spending his first four years in Ames as a quarterback.
His transition has been remarkable, leading the Cyclone defense, which ranks 20th nationally in scoring defense (18.9), at the Mike linebacker spot.
Lanning currently ranks ninth nationally in tackles per game (10.4), registering a team-high four double-digit tackle performances, including a career-high 20 stops vs. Texas. His 20 tackles vs. Texas ranks ninth in school history and ties for fourth among FBS players this season.
Lanning also has 6.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery on the season.
Lanning first appeared on the Hornung Award radar with his incredible “Iron Man” performance at Oklahoma on Oct. 7. With Lanning playing 78 total snaps (57 on defense, 13 on offense, eight on special teams), the Cyclones upset No. 3 Oklahoma (38-31) en route to their first-ever win over a top-five opponent on the road.
Lanning finished the Oklahoma game with eight tackles, a sack, a fumble recovery, 35 rushing yards and 25 passing yards in one of the most memorable performances in school history. He was named Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
A native of Ankeny, Iowa, Lanning has continued to play on offense, defense and special teams for the Cyclones. He’s played on 713 snaps throughout the season (590 on defense, 93 on special teams, 30 on offense).
He ranks third on the team in rushing yards (77) and is 3-of-3 on fourth down conversion rushes.
Lanning was named to the CBS Sports Midseason All-America team and is a three-time winner of the Hornung Award Weekly Honor Roll.
Lanning, who will play in his final game in Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday as No. 24 Iowa State plays host to No. 12 Oklahoma State, has the distinction of one of the few modern players in FBS to rush for five touchdowns in a game (Texas Tech in 2016), throw for three touchdowns in a game (twice) and record 20 tackles in a game (Texas in 2017).