West Virginia University senior quarterback Geno Smith has been named one of 10 finalists from across the nation for the 2012 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, as announced by the organization today.
The 10 finalists for this year's Golden Arm Award are:
Named after the man many refer to as the greatest quarterback ever to play the game of football, the prestigious Golden Arm Award is presented annually by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc. and Transamerica, a leading provider of innovative business and personal financial services.
Candidates for the Golden Arm Award must be completing their college eligibility or be a fourth-year junior, on schedule to graduate with his class. Candidates are judged upon character, citizenship, scholastic achievement, leadership qualities, and athletic accomplishments.
The 2012 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award will be presented on Friday, December 7 at The Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Hotel, 550 Light Street, Baltimore, Maryland.
Established in 1987, the award previously has been presented to 25 outstanding young men. Past winners include Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997), Carson Palmer (USC, 2002), Eli Manning (Ole Miss, 2003), Brady Quinn (Notre Dame, 2006), Matt Ryan (Boston College, 2007), Colt McCoy (Texas, 2009), and most recently, Andrew Luck (Stanford, 2011).
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.
The namesake of the Golden Arm Award has a storied history. Johnny Unitas was an 18-year veteran of the NFL, who played his collegiate career at the University of Louisville before joining the Baltimore Colts in 1958. His career passing figures include 2,830 pass completions for 40,239 yards, 290 touchdowns and throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games.
Unitas was inducted into Pro Football's Hall of Fame in 1979. The Hall of Fame, in commemorations of the NFL's 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversaries selected Unitas as the top quarterback of all-time. In turn-of-the-century listings, he was named to Sports Illustrated's list of top 10 athletes, Time Magazine's list of 10 most influential athletes, and ESPN's series on the 50 greatest athletes of the century.