Matt Leinart Wins Unitas Golden Arm Award As Top Senior Quarterback
Nov. 30, 2005
Quarterback Matt Leinart has been selected as the recipient of the 2005 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, presented annually to the nation's top senior collegiate quarterback by the Frank Camp Chapter of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation.
The award presentation will be made in Louisville on Dec. 9 at the Clarion Conference Center.
He is the third USC recipient of the Unitas Award in its 19-year history, joining Rodney Peete (1988) and Carson Palmer (2002).
Leinart has completed 233 of 351 passes (.664) for 3,217 yards and 24 touchdowns this season for top-ranked USC.
The 2004 Heisman Trophy winner is currently fifth nationally in passing efficiency and 12th in total offense (295.3 yards per game). He is 36-1 as a USC starter and has thrown for 10,095 yards and 95 touchdown passes in his career.
Leinart was chosen for the award by a select committee of football experts from across the United States.
The prestigious award bears the name of the man many refer to as the finest quarterback to ever play the game of football.
An 18-year veteran of the NFL, Unitas played his collegiate career at the University of Louisville (1951-54), passing for 3,007 yards and 27 touchdowns. Unitas, who wore number 19 as a professional, had his No. 16 collegiate uniform retired at Louisville, the lone number retired by the Cardinals.
He began his 18-year pro career with the Baltimore Colts in 1956 and played there until joining the San Diego Chargers for his final season. His career passing figures are mind boggling. He completed 2,830 of 5,186 passes for 40,239 yards and 290 touchdowns during his 18-year NFL career. Among his many records is one that may stand forever: throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games.
Unitas was recently selected as the top quarterback of all-time by the Pro Football Hall of Fame 36-member selection committee. In commemorating the NFL's 25th, 50th and 75th anniversaries, he was also honored as the greatest quarterback of all time. A Pro Bowl participant 10 times and a three-time Most Valuable Player honoree, Unitas was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
Oklahoma quarterback Jason White won the award last year. Other past recipients include Don McPherson (Syracuse, 1987), Rodney Peete (USC, 1988), Tony Rice (Notre Dame, 1989), Craig Erickson (Miami, Fla., 1990), Casey Weldon (Florida St., 1991), Gino Torretta (Miami, Fla., 1992), Charlie Ward (Florida St., 1993), Jay Barker (Alabama, 1994), Tommie Frazier (Nebraska, 1995), Danny Wuerffel (Florida, 1996), Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997), Cade McNown (UCLA, 1998), Chris Redman (Louisville, 1999), Chris Weinke (Florida State, 2000), David Carr (Fresno State, 2001), Carson Palmer (USC, 2002) and Eli Manning (Mississippi, 2003).