The initial Top 30 Watch List for the 2013 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award has been reduced to 15 of the country's top college quarterbacks, including South Carolina's senior signal-caller Connor Shaw.
Shaw, a 6-1, 209-pounder from Flowery Branch, Ga., is 22-4 in his career as a starter, including a 13-0 mark at home. He is the first player in Gamecock history to throw for 4,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards. He is the school's all-time leader in completion percentage (67.2), is fourth in touchdown passes (42) and fourth in total offense (6,217). He currently ranks seventh in the country in passing efficiency and has the second-longest current streak of passes thrown without an interception.
The Golden Arm Award is presented by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc. and Transamerica. The award has been presented at the end of each season since 1987 to the nation's top college quarterback, based on his accomplishments both on and off the field.
Remaining candidates for the prestigious annual award – named after the man many refer to as the greatest quarterback ever to play the game of football – are:
· Blake Bortles, UCF
· Tajh Boyd, Clemson
· Derek Carr, Fresno State
· Cody Fajardo, Nevada
· James Franklin, Missouri
· Taylor Kelly, Arizona State
· Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois
· Sean Mannion, Oregon State
· AJ McCarron, Alabama
· Stephen Morris, Miami
· Aaron Murray, Georgia
· Keith Price, Washington
· Connor Shaw, South Carolina
· Joe Southwick, Boise State
· Keith Wenning, Ball State
"The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award considers character, citizenship, integrity, leadership, and honor – characteristics that were displayed by my father and are highly valued by Transamerica– to be every bit as important as the quarterback's completion rate or number of touchdowns scored," says John C. Unitas, Jr., President of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc.
Candidates for the Golden Arm Award must be college seniors or fourth-year juniors on schedule to graduate with their class.
Previous winners of the Golden Arm Award include: Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997); Carson Palmer (USC, 2002); Eli Manning (Ole Miss, 2003); Matt Ryan (Boston College, 2007); Colt McCoy (Texas, 2009); and Andrew Luck (Stanford, 2011). Last year's winner, Collin Klein of Kanas State, was a Second Team All-American (AP) and the 2012 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year (AP).
The 2013 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award will be presented at a ceremony on Friday, December 6, in Baltimore, MD. For the 2013 Golden Arm Award ceremony, The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc. and Transamerica are happy to be returning to The Embassy Suites Baltimore Inner Harbor & Grand Historic Venue (formerly The Tremont Grand), where the ceremony was held from 2006 until 2010.
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.