BALTIMORE, Md. --- And then there were five ...
The annual competition to select the top college quarterback in the nation has been narrowed from an original field of 29 to five finalists for the 2012 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.
Named after the man many refer to as the greatest quarterback ever to play the game of football, the prestigious Golden Arm Award is presented annually by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc. and Transamerica, a leading provider of innovative business and personal financial services.
The five finalists for the 2012 Golden Arm Award are -
Matt Barkley (USC) has thrown for 113 touchdowns and amassed 12,026 yards in his career as one of the top Trojan QBs of all time. Through last week's games, Barkley had 226 completions in 349 attempts for a 160.0 QB rating.
Collin Klein (Kansas State), a former wide receiver who often functions as a tailback in the Wildcat's zone-read offense, leads the nation in pass efficiency. Through 10 games this season, he has 12 touchdowns and 145 completions in 208 attempts for a 167.4 QB rating.
E.J. Manuel (Florida State) is the most accurate QB in FSU history, with a 66.9 completion percentage. This year, Manuel has completed 186 passes in 272 attempts for 2,641 yards and a QB rating of 169.3.
A.J. McCarron (Alabama) has tossed 20 of his 39 career TDs this season, while compiling an impressive 168.2 QB rating with 157 completions in 238 attempts and only 2 interceptions.
Geno Smith (West Virginia) has thrown for 10,498 yards and 87 touchdowns during his career as a Mountaineer. Through last week's games, Smith had a 159.2 QB rating with 3,041 yards, 31 TDs, and a 71.3 completion percentage.
Candidates for the Golden Arm Award must be completing their college eligibility or be a fourth-year junior, on schedule to graduate with his class. Candidates are judged upon character, citizenship, scholastic achievement, leadership qualities, and athletic accomplishments.
The 2012 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award will be presented on Friday, December 7 at The Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Hotel, 550 Light Street, Baltimore, Maryland.
Past winners of the Golden Arm Award include Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997), Carson Palmer (USC, 2002), Eli Manning (Ole Miss, 2003), Brady Quinn (Notre Dame, 2006), Matt Ryan (Boston College, 2007), Colt McCoy (Texas, 2009), and most recently, Andrew Luck (Stanford, 2011).
Proceeds from the Golden Arm Award help to support the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation. The Foundation provides financial assistance to underprivileged and deserving young scholar-athletes throughout Maryland and Kentucky.
The namesake of the Golden Arm Award has a storied history. Johnny Unitas was an 18-year veteran of the NFL, who played his collegiate career at the University of Louisville before joining the Baltimore Colts in 1958. His career passing figures include 2,830 pass completions for 40,239 yards, 290 touchdowns and throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games.
Unitas was inducted into Pro Football's Hall of Fame in 1979. The Hall of Fame, in commemorations of the NFL's 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversaries selected Unitas as the top quarterback of all-time. In turn-of-the-century listings, he was named to Sports Illustrated's list of top 10 athletes, Time Magazine's list of 10 most influential athletes, and ESPN's series on the 50 greatest athletes of the century
In addition to Transamerica, sponsors of the Golden Arm Award include: Athlon Sports, The Babe Ruth and Sports Legends Museum, Baltimore Sun Media Group, Bloomberg Television, Century Engineering, Coach for America, Comcast, Dunbar Armored, GEICO, HMS Insurance Associates, Inc., Metropolis Funding, Panini, PSAV Presentation Services, R2i.ntegrated, Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Hotel, TRAY, The Scott Garceau Show, Union Memorial Sports Medicine, VPC, Inc., Weiss PR Associates, Inc., Woodberry Kitchen, and Wilson Sporting Goods.