NEW ORLEANS -- Vols quarterback Tyler Bray is one of five SEC signal callers named to the Manning Award Watch List. The overall Watch List includes 25 of the top quarterbacks in the nation heading into the 2012 season. The winner will be announced after the bowls in January and will be honored at a ceremony in New Orleans.
Bray, who is on the Maxwell Award Watch List enters his junior year in 2012.
A native of Kingsburg, Calif., Bray has played in 16 games for the Vols in his career, including 12 starts, and already ranks among the school's career passing leaders in touchdowns (7th, 35), completions (10th, 272), and yards (3,832). He has completed 272 of 471 passing attempts for his career (57.7%), and in 2011, he completed 147-of-247 passes for 1,983 yards, 17 touchdowns, and six interceptions, averaging 283.3 passing yards per game. Bray is 8-4 in his career as a starter and owns the UT records for consecutive games with multiple touchdown passes (10) and most passing yards in the first four games of a season (1,328).
The Manning Award will be recognizing its ninth 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. Auburn's Cameron Newton earn the award in 2011, prior to being selected No. 1 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. This past season's honoree was Robert Griffin, III, from Baylor, who was also a top NFL draft pick (No. 2 overall by the Washington Redskins).
(E-mail Stan Crawley at email@example.com)