Deshaun Watson – 2015 Manning Award Winner
(January 14, 2016) – Deshaun Watson, the star sophomore quarterback from Clemson University, has been selected as the 2015 winner of the Manning Award, presented by the Allstate Sugar Bowl to the top quarterback in the nation. The Manning Award, now in its 12th year, was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl to honor the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. It is the only quarterback award that takes into consideration the candidates’ bowl performances in its balloting. The award is voted on by a panel of local and national media, as well as each of the Mannings.
“On behalf of the Manning family and my sons Peyton and Eli, we want to thank the Allstate Sugar Bowl for creating this award,” said Archie Manning. “This award is unique because we wait until after the bowl games to recognize the best quarterback in the country for the entire year. We are honored to present this year’s Manning Award to Deshaun Watson. Deshaun led his team to a perfect regular season and then an impressive win in the Playoff Semifinal before his 478-yard performance in the national championship. He may not have won the title but he showed the world what an outstanding talent he is and what a tremendous competitor he is.”
“The Allstate Sugar Bowl is very honored to have the opportunity to partner with the Manning family to recognize the accomplishments of the top quarterback in the nation each year,” said Carey Wicker, the President of the Sugar Bowl Committee. “Deshaun Watson had a truly memorable season and he has shown himself to be worthy of being recognized with an award bearing the Manning name.”
Watson, the first sophomore to win the Manning Award, had 405 yards passing and 73 yards rushing for 478 yards of total offense against Alabama’s No. 2 ranked defense on Monday night in the National Championship game. The Crimson Tide defeated Clemson 45-40.
Watson’s 478 yards of total offense set a record for a national championship game. The Tigers signal caller completed the season with 4,104 yards passing and 1,105 yards rushing and became the first player in FBS history to have at least 4,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in the same season.
For the season, Watson completed 333 of 491 passes for 4,104 yards and 35 touchdowns. Rushing, he had 207 carries for 1,105 yards and 12 scores. His 5,209 yards of total offense and his 47 total touchdowns set ACC records.
Nationally, Watson ranked first in the nation in QBR (87.8), third in the nation in points responsible for with 282, fifth in completion percentage (.678), eighth in touchdown passes with 35, eighth in total offense per game (347.3) and 12th in passing efficiency at 156.3.
In addition to the Manning Award, Watson was named the consensus All-America quarterback, was third in the Heisman Trophy balloting, was the Most Valuable Player of the Atlantic Coast Conference and was the MVP of the ACC Championship game and the Orange Bowl.
The other finalists for this year’s Manning Award were: Brandon Allen (Arkansas), Trevone Boykin (TCU), Connor Cook (Michigan State), Brandon Doughty (Western Kentucky), Kevin Hogan (Stanford), Chad Kelly (Ole Miss), Paxton Lynch (Memphis), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Dak Prescott (Mississippi State), Keenan Reynolds (Navy) and Greg Ward, Jr., (Houston).
In its first 12 years, the Manning Award has recognized the top names in college football. It has honored quarterbacks from 11 different schools and from four different conferences. The Southeastern Conference leads the way with four Manning Award winners (Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton, JaMarcus Russell, Tim Tebow), while Texas is the only school with two winners (Colt McCoy and Vince Young). Watson is the third winner from the Atlantic Coast Conference, joining Matt Ryan (Boston College, 2007) and Jameis Winston (Florida State, 2013).
Statistically, the Manning Award has seen a wide-range of quarterbacks. Nine of the Manning Award men threw for over 3,000 yards in their winning campaign, including 4,000-yard seasons from Robert Griffin III, Marcus Mariota, Ryan, Watson and Winston. On the other hand, Watson, Young, Manziel and Newton were all 1,000-yard rushers during their Manning years.
Perhaps most impressive among the statistics of the quarterbacks recognized by the Manning Award is touchdowns scored. Seven of the winners accounted for over 40 touchdowns during their successful seasons – Mariota tallied a Manning Award-best 58 touchdowns during his winning campaign in 2014.
One of the more unique aspects of the Manning Award is the fact that it takes into account the quarterbacks bowl performances, in addition to the regular season. Eleven of the 12 Manning Award winners won bowl games during the season they won the honor; the lone loss was by McCoy in the 2010 BCS Championship game when he suffered an early injury. In addition to Watson and McCoy, six other Manning honorees (Leinart, Mariota, Newton, Tebow, Winston and Young) led their teams to the national championship game (BCS or CFP).
Manning Award winners have also factored prominently in the NFL Draft as they all heard their names called on Draft Day (except for Watson, who is just a sophomore). Three honorees were selected No. 1 overall (Newton, Russell and Winston), while four others went No. 2 or No. 3 (Griffin, Mariota, Ryan and Young).
All of the Manning Award winners follow in the footsteps of the Mannings themselves. In college, Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning combined for over 25,000 passing yards and 201 touchdowns while playing in 10 bowl games and earning four bowl MVP awards. Archie was the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft, while both Peyton and Eli were selected No. 1 overall.
In addition to the Manning Award’s yearly honor, each week during the regular season, eight quarterbacks are recognized as Manning Quarterbacks of the Week. Fifty-five players from 52 different schools were honored during the 2015 season.