LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell is among 26 of the nation’s top senior college quarterbacks that have made the first cut to be considered for the 2008 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, presented by Transamerica Insurance and Investment Group, a leading provider of innovative business and personal financial services.
Harrell led the nation in passing during his junior season en route to becoming only the sixth quarterback in NCAA history to eclipse 5,000 yards with his 5,705-yard effort. He trails only Kliff Kingsbury in the Texas Tech record book on all career lists and is approaching several NCAA milestones.
The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award is presented annually to the nation’s top senior collegiate quarterback, by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc. This prestigious award bears the name of who many refer to as the finest quarterback to ever play the game of football. Established in 1987, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award has previously honored 20 outstanding young men.
The award takes into consideration his impressive collegiate career to this point, as well as his off-the-field values of good character, citizenship, scholastic achievement, and strong leadership qualities.
Other senior college quarterbacks in the top 26 are: C.J. Bacher of Northwestern, Todd Boeckman of Ohio State, Rhett Bomar of Sam Houston State, Tom Brandstater of Fresno State, Hunter Cantwell of Louisville, Rudy Carpenter of Arizona State, Chase Clement of Rice, Chase Daniel of Missouri, Joe Ganz of Nebraska, Sean Glennon of Virginia Tech, Cullen Harper of Clemson, Graham Harrell of Texas Tech, Chase Holbrook of New Mexico State, Brian Hoyer of Michigan State, Will Hudgens of Memphis, Brian Johnson of Utah, Nate Longshore of California, Tyler Lorenzen of Connecticut, Stephen McGee of Texas A&M, Ben Olson of UCLA, Curtis Painter of Purdue, John Parker Wilson of Alabama, Mike Teel of Rutgers, Willie Tuitama of Arizona, Pat White of West Virginia, and Drew Willy of University of Buffalo. These quarterbacks were selected by a committee of well-recognized football experts from across the United States.
The 2008 winner will be presented with the award on December 5th at the Tremont Grand Meeting & Banquet Facility, in downtown Baltimore, Maryland.
Boston College Quarterback Matt Ryan won the award last year. Other past recipients include Don McPherson (Syracuse, 1987), Rodney Peete (USC, 1988), Tony Rice (Notre Dame, 1989), Craig Erickson (Miami, Fla., 1990), Casey Weldon (Florida State, 1991), Gino Torretta (Miami, Fla., 1992), Charlie Ward (Florida State, 1993), Jay Barker (Alabama, 1994), Tommie Frazier (Nebraska, 1995), Danny Wuerffel (Florida, 1996), Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997), Cade McNown (UCLA, 1998), Chris Redman (Louisville, 1999), Chris Weinke (Florida State, 2000), David Carr (Fresno State, 2001) Carson Palmer (USC, 2002), Eli Manning (Ole Miss, 2003), Jason White (University of Oklahoma, 2004), Matt Leinart (USC, 2005), and Brady Quinn (Notre Dame, 2006).
The Transamerica Insurance and Investment Group, a leading provider of innovative business and personal financial services, is our major corporate and presenting sponsor for the award and organization.
The namesake of the award has a storied history which has earned him the recognition of being the Greatest Quarterback to ever play in the NFL. An 18-year veteran of the NFL, Unitas played his collegiate career at the University of Louisville (1951-1954), passing for 3007 yds and 27 TDs. Unitas, who wore #19 as a professional, had his # 16 collegiate uniform retired at Louisville, the lone number retired by the Cardinals. Johnny Unitas began his 18 year pro career with the Baltimore Colts in 1958 and played there until joining the San Diego Chargers for his final season. His career passing figures are mind boggling. He completed 2,830 of 5,186 passes for 40,239 yds and 290 TDs during his 18 year NFL career. Among his many records is one that may stand forever, throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games.
Unitas was recently selected as the top quarterback of all-time by the Pro Football Hall of Fame 36 member selection committee. In commemorating the NFL’s 25th, 50th and 75th anniversaries,
he was also honored as the GREATEST QUARTERBACK OF ALL TIME. A Pro Bowl participant 10 times and a THREE-TIME MOST VALUABLE PLAYER honoree, Johnny Unitas was inducted
into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1979. In turn of the century listings, Johnny was featured among SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’S top ten athletes, TIME’s ten most influential athletes
and in ESPN’s series on the 50 Greatest Athletes of the Century.
As part of a partnership with CN8, The Comcast Network, the announcement of the winner and the award presentation will be carried live exclusively on "Out of Bounds" at 7 p.m. Throughout the fall, “Out of Bounds” has provided a regular look at the award contenders, including game highlights and statistical updates on the “Golden Arm Award Watch List” presented by Transamerica.
The special "Out of Bounds" coverage culminates with the live award winner announcement as well as interviews and reports from the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Awards.
Other sponsors include Black & Decker, Century Engineering, CitiGroup, Constellation New Energy, Dunbar Armored, First Mariner Bank, Maple Leaf Title LLC, Mortgage Seekers, MyAdBox, R2i.ntegrated, Southwest Airlines, Stanton Communications, and MedStar Union Memorial Sports Medicine.
(Courtesy: Texas Tech)