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Florida's Tebow Wins 2009 Manning Award

Thursday, January 22, 2009

In its first four years, the Manning Award has recognized four players who went on to be selected within the top 10 picks of the NFL Draft. Now the honor has added a Heisman Trophy winner to its ranks as Florida junior quarterback Tim Tebow has been selected as the winner of the 2009 honor, presented by the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Tebow, who announced last week that he would return to the Gators for his senior season, will have the chance to be the first repeat winner of the Manning Award as well.

The Manning Award was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in honor of the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. It is the only quarterback award that takes into consideration the candidates' bowl performances. The award is voted on by a panel of local and national media, as well as each of the Mannings. Texas' Colt McCoy finished second this year.

"This was another amazing season for quarterbacks in college football," Archie Manning said. "Every Saturday, we saw great performances and then, in the bowls, these players stepped up to another level. All 10 of our finalists had great years and it was a very tough decision, but after the amazing year he had, we are excited to welcome Tim Tebow to the distinguished list of Manning Award winners."

Tebow led Florida to a 13-1 record and its second national championship in three years. He completed 18-of-30 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns in the Gators' 24-14 win over Oklahoma in the BCS Championship game. The Jacksonville native also rushed 22 times for 109 yards on his way to being named the game's offensive most outstanding player.

For the season, Tebow completed 64.4 percent of his passes (192 of 298) for 2,746 yards with 30 touchdowns. He also rushed 176 times for 673 yards and 12 touchdowns, a 48.1 average per game.

"Tim Tebow won a national championship as a freshman, he earned the Heisman Trophy last year and he led his team to another national championship this year," said Allstate Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan. "The Allstate Sugar Bowl is privileged to bestow another honor on a player who is putting together one of the greatest careers in the history of college football."

After becoming the first sophomore in history to win the Heisman Trophy last year, Tebow has collected a long list of awards for his 2008 performance. In addition to the Manning Award as the top quarterback in the nation, he was honored with the Maxwell Award, as the most outstanding player in the nation; the Wuerffel Trophy, as the player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement; the Disney Sports Spirit Award, as the most inspirational player; the Sullivan Award, as the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States; and the U.S. Sports Academy's Male Athlete of the Year honor. He was also a finalist once again for the Heisman Trophy.

Tebow is the fifth winner of the Manning Award, which began following the 2004 regular season. USC's Matt Leinart was the inaugural winner, followed by Texas' Vince Young in 2006. In 2007, LSU's JaMarcus Russell earned the award and last year Boston College's Matt Ryan collected the honor. Leinart was selected No. 10 in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals; the same year that Young went third overall to the Tennessee Titans. In 2007, Russell was the No. 1 overall pick by the Oakland Raiders, while last year saw Ryan go No. 3 to the Atlanta Falcons.

Tebow beat out McCoy and eight other finalists for this year's award: Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), Chase Daniel (Missouri), Nate Davis (Ball State), Graham Harrell (Texas Tech), Brian Johnson (Utah), Zac Robinson (Oklahoma State), Mark Sanchez (USC) and Matthew Stafford (Georgia).