Oct. 25, 2010
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern junior quarterback Dan Persa (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty) has been added to the Manning Award Watch List, along with nine other quarterbacks nationally.
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.
In his first year as Northwestern's starting quarterback, Persa is savoring a terrific season. He leads all Division I (FBS and FCS) quarterbacks nationally in completion percentage (.757), and ranks fifth in total offense (313.0 ypg), eighth in pass efficiency rating (164.3) and fifth in fewest interceptions thrown (1.46 percent).
Persa is also the Wildcats' leading rusher with 341 yards (48.7 ypg) and he leads the team with six rushing TD's. He is also a candidate for ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors.
"Danny is playing at a very high level," said NU coach Pat Fitzgerald. "It's not about perfect, it's about execution and he's done that. You look at his statistics, No. 1 in the nation in completion percentage and No. 8 in pass efficiency, and I'd like it to stay there. Why not? We ask our players to play to their strengths. For Mick McCall and our offensive staff, it's players, formations and plays. Danny is a perfect fit for our offense, he's done a great job managing things, spreading it out. We have a number of young men with receptions and it's tough to stop."
After announcing 33 quarterbacks to watch during the preseason, the Manning Award opted to increase its focus players based on the many outstanding performances during the first half of the year. While these players have been added to the Watch List, every quarterback in the nation remains eligible to win the honor.
"There have been many young quarterbacks as well as some veterans who have really stepped up this year," said Archie Manning. "We have decided to add 10 players who have really stood out, both individually and through team success. But I want to stress that every quarterback in the country remains eligible to win the Manning Award. We still have half of the season to go and we all know that the second half is where most stars truly make their mark."
Ten finalists will be determined by a selected panel of national media covering college football, as well as each of the Mannings. That list will be released on Monday, Nov. 29. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, Jan. 19.
The Manning Award will be recognizing its seventh 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. Last year's winner was Texas signal-caller Colt McCoy, the winningest quarterback in college football history. McCoy was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 2010 NFL Draft.
2010 Manning Award Watch List Midseason Additions
Stephen Garcia South Carolina 124-of-172 (.721), 1681 yards, 12 TDs, 6 INT
Mike Hartline Kentucky 184-of-273 (.674), 2144 yards, 17 TDs, 4 INT
Taylor Martinez Nebraska 66-of-111 (.595), 1046 yards, 8 TDs, 3 INT, 870 rushing, 12 TDs
Bryant Moniz Hawaii 211-of-324 (.651), 2921 yards, 22 TDs, 6 INT
Cameron Newton Auburn 90-of-138 (.652), 1364 yards, 13 TD, 5 INT, 1077 rushing, 14 TDs
Dan Persa Northwestern 156-of-206 (.757), 1850 yards, 10 TDs, 3 INT, 341 rushing, 6 TDs
Taylor Potts Texas Tech 213-of-324 (.657), 2161 yards, 20 TDs, 5 INT
Denard Robinson Michigan 97-of-143 (.678), 1319 yards, 9 TDs, 5 INT, 1096 rushing, 9 TDs
Darron Thomas Oregon 109-of-179 (.609), 1539 yards, 17 TDs, 5 INT, 269 rushing, 2 TDs
Brandon Weeden Oklahoma State 173-of-260 (.665), 2249 yards, 21 TDs, 9 INT