MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (August 17, 2018) – West Virginia University football redshirt senior and Heisman Trophy Award candidate quarterback Will Grier was named to The Manning Award Watch List, announced today by the organization.
Grier, the 2018 Big 12 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and a consensus preseason All-America selection, was the 2017 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and an All-Big 12 Conference performer. He already has been named to the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, Davey O’Brien, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, AFCA Good Works Team and Wuerffel Award Watch Lists.
In 2017, he passed for 3,490 yards and 34 touchdowns before his season ended against Texas when he sustained a season-ending hand injury in the first quarter. His 34 touchdowns were second-most in WVU history, and he threw for 300 or more yards in nine games, setting a school record. He also recorded multiple touchdowns in 10 games and set a school record by throwing five touchdowns in back-to-back games.
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.
“We’re very excited to jump into another college football season and to have the opportunity to watch all of the tremendous quarterbacks around the country,” said Archie Manning. “While these 30 quarterbacks have been selected to our Watch List, every quarterback in the nation remains eligible to earn the honor. We will make some midseason additions which will allow us to recognize some new faces as well as some of the standout quarterbacks that are still in the midst of preseason competition.”
Inclusion on the Watch List is not necessary for the quarterbacks to be selected for the honor. Midseason additions to the Watch List will be announced on Thursday, October 11. The list of 10 finalists will be released on Thursday, November 29. The winner will be announced in the week following the College Football Playoff National Championship.
This year’s Watch List includes players from all 10 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences. The SEC leads the way with five selections, while the ACC and the Big Ten each have four selections, followed by the Pac-12 and the MAC with three each. There are 17 seniors on the list, while the junior class is represented by 12 quarterbacks and the sophomore class has just one.
Four of last year’s Manning Award finalists are included on this year’s Watch List: Trace McSorley (Penn State), McKenzie Milton (UCF), Jarrett Stidham (Auburn) and Khalil Tate (Arizona).
“We have had the opportunity to recognize 13 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 14 years, the Manning Award has recognized the top names in college football. It has honored quarterbacks from 12 different schools and from four different conferences. The Big 12 Conference (Baker Mayfield, Vince Young, Colt McCoy and Robert Griffin III) joins the Southeastern Conference (Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton, JaMarcus Russell and Tim Tebow) and the Atlantic Coast Conference (Deshaun Watson twice, Matt Ryan and Jameis Winston) with four Manning Award winners each, while Texas is the only school with two different winners (McCoy and Young).
Statistically, the Manning Award has seen a wide-range of quarterbacks. Eleven of the Manning Award men threw for over 3,000 yards in their winning campaign, including 4,000-yard seasons from Mayfield, Griffin III, Marcus Mariota, Ryan, Watson (twice) and Winston. On the other hand, Watson (in 2015), 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. Nine of the winners accounted for over 40 touchdowns during their successful seasons.
One of the more unique aspects of the Manning Award is the fact that it takes account of the quarterbacks’ bowl performances, in addition to the regular season. Twelve of the 14 Manning Award winners won bowl games during the season they won the honor. Nine Manning Award honorees led their teams to the CFP Semifinals or a BCS Championship game appearance and six won national championships. Previous Manning Award winners have also factored prominently in the NFL Draft as they all heard their names called on Draft Day. Four honorees were selected No. 1 overall (Mayfield, Newton, Russell and Winston), while four others went No. 2 or No. 3 (Griffin, Mariota, Ryan and Young).
All 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.
Photo Credit: Shanna Rose
Press Release Credit: Mike Montoro-WVU Sports Communications