It's that time of year.
The college football award watch lists are about to start coming fast and furious, and the Paul Hornung Award — which annually honors the "most versatile" player in college football — kicked off those festivities on Monday.
Illinois landed a name on the list in V'Angelo Bentley, the defensive back/return man who recorded 46 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, an interception and two forced fumbles as well as 692 kick-return yards and 123 punt-return yards. Those 815 total return yards were the 15th most in the FBS last season.
Bentley is the only Illini ever to score a touchdown on a kickoff return, a punt return, an interception return and a fumble return.
Bentley was on the watch list last season, as well.
Joining Bentley on the 44-player watch list are six more Big Ten players: Rutgers' Janarion Grant, Maryland's William Likely, Ohio State's Jalin Marshall, Nebraska's De'Mornay Pierson-El, Michigan State's R.J. Shelton and Ohio State's Dontre Wilson.
Pierson-El led the Big Ten in punt-return yardage last season, with 596 yards and an average of 17.5 yards per return. Marshall and Likely ranked second and third, respectively.
Likely was the conference's leader in kick-return average, averaging 31 yards per return. Shelton, Grant and Bentley all ranked in the top 10 in kick-return average, as well. Grant had the most kick-return yards in the league, with 910.
The Paul Hornung Award has been given out annually since 2010. In the five years the award has been handed out, no Big Ten player has won.