Nov. 23, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State senior quarterback Christian Ponder, who ranks among the top passers in school history, may soon put his name alongside a trio of former Seminole greats.
Ponder has been selected as one of five finalists for the 2010 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, presented to college football’s top senior quarterback in the nation. Having made the cut from the original list of 22 candidates, Ponder hopes to join FSU’s previous Unitas Award winners, Casey Weldon (1991), Charlie Ward (1993) and Chris Weinke (2000).
Named after the man called by many the greatest quarterback ever to play football, the prestigious Golden Arm Award is presented annually to the nation’s top senior college quarterback. It is presented by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc. and Transamerica, a leading provider of innovative business and personal financial services.
The remaining four candidates for the 2010 Golden Arm Award are:
Andy Dalton, TCU, who has led the Horned Frogs to an 11-0 record, passing for 23 touchdowns and amassing nearly 2,500 yards while compiling a QB efficiency rating of 163.9;
Colin Kaepernick, Nevada, who has completed 166 of 247 passes for 17 TDs and a 67.2 completion percentage;
Ricky Stanzi, Iowa, who has posted an 18-4 record as a starting quarterback over past two seasons and ranks sixth in Hawkeye history in career passing yards (4,373) and passing TDs (31);
Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin, who holds school records for career completion percentage at .675 and career QB efficiency rating of 150.0 and ranks sixth all-time at Wisconsin with 28 career passing touchdowns, 4,681 passing yards, and 369 career completions.
The 2010 winner will be presented with the Golden Arm Award on Friday, December 10 at the Tremont Grand Meeting & Banquet Facility in Downtown Baltimore. Joining the evening’s festivities will be a number of former Baltimore Colts teammates of Johnny Unitas, including standout center Bill Curry, the coach of the first-year Georgia State University team.
Since 1987, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award has been presented to some of college football’s greatest quarterbacks, many of whom have gone on to illustrious careers in the NFL. Former winners include Colt McCoy (Texas, 2009), Matt Ryan (Boston College, 2007), Brady Quinn (Notre Dame, 2006), Matt Leinart (USC, 2005), Eli Manning (Ole Miss, 2003), Carson Palmer (USC, 2002), Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997), and Rodney Peete (USC, 1988).
“When you consider how many great college QBs have won the Golden Arm Award and have gone on to play in the NFL, it is clear that this award has become a significant barometer for future success in the professional ranks,” says John C. Unitas, Jr., President of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation.
The namesake of the Golden Arm Award has a storied history which has earned him the recognition of being the greatest quarterback to ever play in the National Football League. An 18-year veteran of the NFL, Unitas played his collegiate career at the University of Louisville (1951-1954), passing for 3007 yards and 27 touchdowns. Over the course of his NFL career, Unitas completed 2,830 of 5,186 passes for 40,239 yards and 290 touchdowns. Among his many records is one that may stand forever, throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games.
Inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1979, Unitas was selected as the top quarterback of all-time by the Hall of Fame 36-member selection committee.
Proceeds from the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award helps to support the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, which provides financial assistance to underprivileged and deserving young scholar-athletes throughout Maryland and Kentucky.