University of North Carolina sophomore tailback Giovani Bernard has earned the 2012 Punt Returner Trophy, announced today by College Football Performance Awards. Bernard is the second Tar Heel to earn CFPA honors, following 2011 recipient Zach Brown (LB).
Bernard, who recently elected to forego his final two years of college eligibility and enter the 2013 NFL Draft, finished the season with two punt return touchdowns. He ranked second in the country with 16.4 yards per return. Bernard had a 74-yard game-winning punt return touchdown against NC State and a 70-yard punt return for touchdown against Elon.
Previously, Bernard received first-team All-ACC honors and was named ACC Player of the Year by CBSSports.com. In 2011, he received the Brian Piccolo Award, an honor given to the most courageous player in the ACC.