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Luck, Griffin & Weeden Top Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Finalists

Luck, Griffin & Weeden Top Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Finalists

Photo – QB Robert Griffin - Baylor

Finalists For Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award

The annual competition to select the top college quarterback in the nation has been narrowed from an original field of 25 to five finalists for the 2011 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.

Named after the man many refer to as the greatest quarterback ever to play football, the prestigious Golden Arm Award is presented annually by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc.

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 five remaining candidates for the 2011 Golden Arm Award are -

* Robert Griffin, III, Baylor, who leads the nation in completion
percentage (78.0), points responsibility (24.0), passing efficiency
(205.71), and has completed 142-of-182 passes for 1,950 yards and 22
touchdowns with only two interceptions;

* Landry Jones, Oklahoma, who has 254 of 393 passes for 3,349 yards
and 9 touchdowns this year, bringing his career totals to 920 completions
for 11,265 yards, and 92 TDs, as well as last year's lop-sided Fiesta Bowl
win over Connecticut;

* Andrew Luck, Stanford, who has passed for 2,424 yards with 26
touchdowns and just five interceptions for a 174.1 passer rating this year,
currently fifth in the country;

* Kellen Moore, Boise State, who has passed for 2,229 yards and 29
touchdowns this year and 147 completions of 20-plus yards in the past three
years, the most of any player during that span; and

* Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State, who has thrown for 3,212 yards and
26 TDs in 2011 and set OSU's single-game passing record with 502 yards
against Kansas State.

The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award will be presented on Friday, December 9 at the Intercontinental Harbor Court, 550 Light Street in downtown Baltimore. The winner will be announced earlier that week.

A number of former Baltimore Colts teammates of Johnny Unitas are expected to be on hand for this year's Golden Arm festivities, including Raymond Berry, Jimmy Orr, and Art Donovan. In addition, former Colt Joe Ehrmann, author of the best-selling book InsideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives, will deliver remarks during the award event.

Past winners of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award 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).

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 one that may stand forever - throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games.

Unitas was inducted into Pro Football's Hall of Fame in 1979. Further, 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 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.

For more information, visit www.goldenarmfoundation.com
For additional coverage of the 2011 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, visit
http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/college/golden-arm

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Thorpe etc for the past 18 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game.