In the midst of one of the greatest seasons in school history, Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein was named the recipient of the 2012 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, the award's foundation announced today.
Klein is the first Wildcat to pick up the honor and the fifth from the Big 8/12 since the award's inception in 1987. The Loveland, Colo., product earned K-State's first major college football award since Terence Newman won the 2002 Jim Thorpe Award.
"It's a tremendous honor," said Klein. "Anyone that is familiar with the game of football recognizes that name. I'm just happy to represent Kansas State, our team and what we've been able to accomplish this season."
The 2012 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award will be presented to Klein on Friday at the 2012 award celebration held at The Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Hotel in Baltimore, Md.
"Collin is not just a tremendous athlete and leader on the field, but an MVP off the field as well, who repeatedly has been recognized for his numerous contributions to the community and to the spirit of sportsmanship" says John C. Unitas, Jr., President of The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation. "Collin joins a prestigious list of top quarterbacks who embody the characteristics that made Johnny Unitas such an enduring legend, including many who have gone on to illustrious careers in the NFL."
Klein guided Kansas State to its third conference championship and first since 2003 with a 42-24 victory over No. 18 Texas Saturday. In that contest, Klein rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns, while throwing for 184 and another touchdown on 8-of-14 aim.
Along with 26 other seniors, Klein has led the Wildcats to their seventh 11-win season in school history and second BCS bowl berth as the Wildcats will play in the 42nd Annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The Loveland, Colo., product has accounted for 37 touchdowns this year to rank 11th nationally in touchdown responsibility, while he is tied for second nationally and tops among quarterbacks with 22 rushing touchdowns. He is the only quarterback from a BCS AQ school in the BCS era to rush for at least 20 touchdowns and pass for at least 10 touchdowns in multiple seasons.
In 12 games this year, Klein has completed 180-of-272 passes for 2,490 yards and 15 touchdowns while totaling 890 rushing yards on 194 attempts. He ranks eighth in school history in passing yardage and 10th in touchdowns, while he is tied for tied for seventh in completions. Additionally, his current season pass efficiency rating of 156.12 ranks third in school history, while he is tied for second in rushing touchdowns behind his school-record 27 scores last season.
As a player who will go down as one of the best in K-State history as both a passer and runner, Klein ranks in the top 10 in school history in rushing touchdowns (1st; 55), touchdown responsibility (1st; 84), scoring (2nd; 336), total yards (3rd; 7,028), passing efficiency (3rd; 141.05), rushing attempts (3rd; 588), rushing yards (5th; 2,455), completions (5th, 353), passing touchdowns (t6th; 29), passing yards (7th; 4,573) and pass attempts (8th; 572). His 55 rushing touchdowns also rank fourth in Big 12 history and second among quarterbacks.
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.
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. Other 2012 finalists included Matt Barkley (USC), E.J. Manuel (Florida State), A.J. McCarron (Alabama) and Geno Smith (West Virginia).
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).