The Manning Award, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, added five Big 12 quarterbacks to its annual Watch List on Friday. The Watch List is being announced by conference in conjunction with each league’s media days. The Big 12 Media Days kick off on Monday and five of the league’s quarterbacks scheduled to be in attendance have been selected to the Manning Watch List: Seth Doege (Texas Tech), Landry Jones (Oklahoma), Collin Klein (Kansas State), Casey Pachall (TCU) and Geno Smith (West Virginia).
The overall Watch List will include 25 of the top quarterbacks in the nation heading into the 2012 season. 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 includes the candidates’ bowl performances in its balloting.
Texas Tech senior quarterback Seth Doege led the nation in completions last year with 33.2 per game; and he completed 68.5 percent of those passes for 4,004 yards and 28 touchdowns. Three times he was selected as a Manning Award Star of the Week, including after throwing for 441 yards and four touchdowns in an upset of Oklahoma. The Red Raiders open the 2012 season on Sept. 1 when they host Northwestern State, an FCS team, in Lubbock.
Landry Jones from Oklahoma is making his third appearance on a Manning Award Watch List; he is just one of four finalists for last year’s honor returning in 2012. Last season, Jones completed 63.2 percent of his passes while tallying 4,463 passing yards and 29 touchdowns. He was also a three-time Manning Award Star of the Week in 2011, including the week he threw for a school record 505 yards in a win over Kansas State. The 2012 campaign opens for Jones and his teammates on Sept. 1 when they play on the road at UTEP.
One of the more dominant rushing quarterbacks in the country, Kansas State’s Collin Klein returns for his senior season as a top Manning Award candidate. In 2011, Klein threw for 1,918 yards and 13 touchdowns, but on the ground, he crashed his way to 1,142 yards and 27 more touchdowns – the 27 rushing scores matched the Big 12 record set by Heisman winner Ricky Williams in 1998. Klein and the Wildcats kick off 2012 with a home game against FCS foe Missouri State on Sept. 1.
Casey Paschall from Big 12-newcomer TCU had an excellent debut season as the Horned Frog starter, throwing for 2,921 yards and 25 touchdowns while completing 66.5 percent of his passes. His 2,921 yards broke the school record which had been set in 2010 by current NFL-er Andy Dalton. The junior’s best game was a 473-yard performance in a thrilling victory over Boise State. Paschall and TCU open 2012 with a bye week, but jump into game action on Sept. 8, hosting Grambling State in Fort Worth.
Another league newcomer also has been selected for the Manning Watch List as West Virginia’s Geno Smith put together an outstanding 2011 campaign. The senior threw for 4,385 yards and 31 touchdowns while completing 65.8 percent of his passes. His completions (346), attempts (526) and yards all set school records, while his yardage total was also the Big East record, as he earned first-team All-Big East honors. The Mountaineers open the 2012 season on Sept. 1, hosting state rival Marshall in Morgantown.
The preseason Watch List recognizes top quarterbacks in the nation based on previous collegiate performance, however, every quarterback in the nation remains eligible for the honor. Additional quarterbacks may be added to the Watch List after the start of the season. The list of 10 finalists will be released on Monday, Nov. 26. The winner will 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).