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Illinois' V'Angelo Bentley named to 2015 Hornung Award watch list

Senior defensive back and return specialist is one of 44 players to the watch list for an award given to the most versatile player in the nation.

Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois senior cornerback and return specialist V'Angelo Bentley is one of 44 named Monday to the preseason watch list for the 2015 Paul Hornung Award, given annually to the most versatile player in college football by the Louisville Sports Commission. It is his second straight season on the list.

Bentley, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound, had 46 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, an interception, two PBUs and two forced fumbles. He had a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown against Texas State and a game-winning 12-yard fumble return for a touchdown against Minnesota.

The Cleveland, Ohio, native led the team with 692 kick return yards and 123 punt return yards. He finished 15th in the Football Bowl Subdivision and third in the Big Ten in combined kick returns with 815 total return yards.

Bentley is joined by six other Big Ten players on the list, including Maryland's William Likely, Michigan State's R.J. Shelton, Nebraska's De'Monrnay Pierson-El, Ohio State's Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson and Rutgers' Janarion Grant.

The Hornung Award, which has been presented since 2010, is named after former Notre Dame and Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer Paul Hornung. Last year's Hornung award winner was Washington's Shaq Thompson.

The Fighting Illini begin their 2015 season against Kent State at 8 p.m. central time Friday, Sept. 4 at Memorial Stadium.

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