HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis was announced as one of 31 quarterbacks to be named to the preseason watch list for The Manning Award, which recognizes the top quarterback in collegiate football.
The Manning Award, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, will announce its winner 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.
"College football is the greatest sport out there and it's always fun to take a look at all the quarterbacks in the country and speculate on who will be the best," Archie Manning said. "But even the process of narrowing it down to 31 guys was challenging and I have no doubt that plenty of other quarterbacks will jump into the picture as the season goes on. I'm looking forward to simply sitting back and enjoying another great season."
This year's Watch List includes players from 11 FBS conferences. Conference USA, the Big 12 and the Pac-12 are each represented by five players while the Big East, the Big Ten and the Southeastern Conference each have three quarterbacks recognized.
"We have had the opportunity to recognize seven 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."
The preseason Watch List recognizes 31 of the 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. 28. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, Jan. 18.
The Manning Award will be recognizing its eighth 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. Last year saw Auburn's Cameron Newton earn the award, prior to being selected No. 1 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers.