One of Four 2015 Finalists to Make 2016 Watch List
NEW ORLEANS – Ole Miss senior quarterback Chad Kelly found himself on yet another preseason watch list Monday, this time being named one of 30 quarterbacks on the Manning Award watch list.
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. The winner will again be selected by a voting panel, which includes national media and each of the Mannings, after the bowls.
“We once again have a great group of quarterbacks returning to college football this fall,” said Ole Miss and NFL legend Archie Manning. “While this watch list has many of the best returning players, we look forward to making midseason additions as teams settle on definite starters and as young players step up and make names for themselves. I’m really looking forward to getting the season rolling to see which guys will rise to the top and become Manning Award finalists.”
Kelly is one of four of last year’s Manning Award finalists to be included on this year’s watch list, including 2015 winner Deshaun Watson from Clemson, Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma and Greg Ward Jr., of Houston.
Last year, Kelly led Ole Miss to the Sugar Bowl for the first time since 1970, beating teams like Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State and Texas A&M along the way. He broke 14 single-season school records, including total offense (4,542 yards), completion percentage (65.1), passing efficiency (155.9), 300-yard passing games (8) and touchdowns responsible for (41). His offensive output was the third-highest in Southeastern Conference history, behind only the 2012 and 2013 seasons by Johnny Manziel. Completing 298 passes for 4,042 yards and 31 touchdowns, all program bests, Kelly became the third SEC quarterback to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season.
The Buffalo, New York, native’s play last season caught the eye of many, as he has been named first team All-SEC by the league media as well as selected to the Water Camp, Maxwell, Davey O’Brien and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watch lists this preseason.
Inclusion on the Manning Award watch list is not necessary for the quarterbacks to be selected for the honor. Midseason additions to the watch list will be announced onWednesday, October 12. The list of 10 finalists will be released on Wednesday, November 30. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, January 11.
This year’s watch list includes players from all 10 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences. The Big 12 leads the way with five selections, followed by the Big Ten and ACC with four each. There are 15 seniors on the list while the junior class is represented by 11 quarterbacks and the sophomore class has three.
“We have had the opportunity to recognize 12 outstanding quarterbacks with the Manning Award,” said Paul Hoolahan, Allstate Sugar Bowl CEO. “It is truly a great honor for the Allstate Sugar Bowl to sponsor this award and we wish the best of luck to every quarterback and team in the country for another great year of college football.”
In its first 12 years, the Manning Award has recognized the top names in college football. It has honored quarterbacks from 11 different schools and from four different conferences. The Southeastern Conference leads the way with four Manning Award winners (Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton, JaMarcus Russell, Tim Tebow), while Texas is the only school with two winners (Colt McCoy and Vince Young). Watson was the third winner from the Atlantic Coast Conference, joining Matt Ryan (Boston College, 2007) and Jameis Winston (Florida State, 2013).
Statistically, the Manning Award has seen a wide range of quarterbacks. Nine of the Manning Award men threw for over 3,000 yards in their winning campaign, including 4,000-yard seasons from Robert Griffin III, Marcus Mariota, Ryan, Watson and Winston. On the other hand, Watson, Young, Manziel and Newton were all 1,000-yard rushers during their Manning years.
Perhaps most impressive among the statistics of the quarterbacks recognized by the Manning Award is touchdowns scored. Seven of the winners accounted for over 40 touchdowns during their successful seasons – Mariota tallied a Manning Award-best 58 touchdowns during his winning campaign in 2014.
One of the more unique aspects of the Manning Award is the fact that it takes into account the quarterbacks bowl performances, in addition to the regular season. Eleven of the 12 Manning Award winners won bowl games during the season they won the honor; the lone loss was by McCoy in the 2010 BCS Championship game when he suffered an early injury. In addition to Watson and McCoy, six other Manning honorees (Leinart, Mariota, Newton, Tebow, Winston and Young) led their teams to the national championship game (BCS or CFP).
Manning Award winners have also factored prominently in the NFL Draft as they all heard their names called on Draft Day (except for Watson, who is just a sophomore). Three honorees were selected No. 1 overall (Newton, Russell and Winston), while four others went No. 2 or No. 3 (Griffin, Mariota, Ryan and Young).
All of the Manning Award winners follow in the footsteps of the Mannings themselves. In college, Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning combined for over 25,000 passing yards and 201 touchdowns while playing in 10 bowl games and earning four bowl MVP awards. Archie was the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft, while both Peyton and Eli were selected No. 1 overall.
In addition to the Manning Award’s yearly honor, each week during the regular season, eight quarterbacks are recognized as Manning Quarterbacks of the Week. Fifty-six players from 53 different schools were honored during the 2015 season.