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Smith Finalist for Manning Award


By John Sudsbury for WVUsports.com
November 28, 2012 03:11 PM
NEW ORLEANS – The Manning Award, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, announced its 10 finalists for this year’s award on Wednesday. The winner will be announced after the bowls in January and will be honored at a ceremony in New Orleans.

The Manning Award was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in honor of the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. It is the only quarterback award that takes the candidates’ bowl performances into consideration in its balloting.

The finalists for this year’s Manning Award are:

- Matt Barkley, Sr., Southern California

- Tajh Boyd, Jr., Clemson

- Collin Klein, Sr., Kansas State

- Jordan Lynch, Jr., Northern Illinois

- Johnny Manziel, Fr., Texas A&M

- Marcus Mariota, Fr., Oregon

- AJ McCarron, Jr., Alabama

- Braxton Miller, So., Ohio State

- Aaron Murray, Jr., Georgia

- Geno Smith, Sr., West Virginia

While the statistics for the group are exemplary, one stat stands out above the rest – they have a combined winning percentage of .846 with an overall record of 99-19. The finalists average nearly 3,000 passing yards and 27 passing touchdowns while averaging just seven interceptions each. Interestingly, five of the finalists rushed for over 500 yards on the season, including three 1,000-yard rushers. As a group, they totaled 87 rushing touchdowns. Eight of the players come from 10-win programs.

“We think we have another great group of quarterbacks as our finalists,” said Archie Manning. “Once again, there were so many outstanding performances by so many different guys, this was very tough to decide on 10, and I’d like to thank our selection committee for their time and effort. But what this is really about is the players themselves and I want to thank them all for their hard work all season long. I’m very much looking forward to the conference championships and bowl games to really see who steps up in the big-game situations.”

The group is represented by just three seniors, to go with four juniors, one sophomore and two freshmen – the first two freshmen to be selected as Manning Award finalists. The finalists come from the Southeastern Conference (3), the Pac-12 (2), the Big 12 (2), the ACC (1), the Mid-American Conference (1) and the Big Ten Conference (1). Matt Barkley is the only player who has been a finalist in previous years (2011-12).

The winner is scheduled to be announced on Wednesday, Jan. 9.

The Manning Award will be recognizing its ninth winner this year. USC’s Matt Leinart was the inaugural winner of the award in 2005, followed by Texas’ Vince Young in 2006. Both went on to be top 10 NFL draft picks. In 2007, LSU’s JaMarcus Russell earned the award and was the NFL’s No. 1 draft pick. Boston College’s Matt Ryan claimed the award in 2008 and was drafted No. 3, quickly becoming the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. In 2009, Florida star Tim Tebow earned the honor – he also went on to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. The 2010 winner was Texas signal-caller Colt McCoy, the winningest quarterback in college football history, who was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the draft. Auburn’s Cameron Newton earned the award in 2011, prior to being selected No. 1 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. This past season’s honoree was Robert Griffin, III, from Baylor, who was also a top NFL draft pick (No. 2 overall by the Washington Redskins).



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