Andrew Walter Makes Final Nine for Unitas Award

Oct. 20, 2004

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Arizona State University senior quarterback Andrew Walter is one of nine outstanding quarterbacks that have been selected as finalists for the 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 other eight finalists for the award include Jason Campbell (Auburn), Timmy Chang (Hawaii), Charlie Frye (Akron), David Greene (Georgia), Stefan LeFors (Louisville), Dan Orlovsky (Connecticut), Kyle Orton (Purdue) and Jason White (Oklahoma).

Walter has passed for 1,430 yards and 15 touchdowns at No. 21 Arizona State (5-1). With his 181-yard effort last week against top-ranked USC, Walter became Arizona State's career-leading passer with 8,897 yards and ranks ninth on the Pac-10 career passing yards list. He can become just the ninth Pac-10 quarterback to gain 9,000 yards and needs just 452 yards to catch Stanford's John Elway (9,349 yards, 1979-82) for eighth on the league list. With 70 career touchdown passes, Walter has already set the school career mark and has moved into a tie for fourth in the Pac-10 career list with Washington State's Jason Gesser (1999-02). He now stands just seven short of the Pac-10-record 77 that Elway threw in his career (1979-82). Additionally, Walter is on pace to set nearly every ASU passing record. He holds the top two marks on the Sun Devil single-season passing charts (3,877 yards in 2002 and 3,044 yards in 2003), and with his 40 attempts on Sept. 25 against Oregon State, Walter became the ASU career leader in pass attempts (1203), while he set the career completions mark with his second completion at No. 1 USC on Oct. 16 (650).

Fourth nationally in passing efficiency, Campbell has thrown for 1,363 yards for No. 3 Auburn (7-0). Third nationally in total offense, Chang has thrown for 1,658 yards at Hawaii (2-3). Frye has passed for 1,429 yards at Akron (3-4) this season. Greene hasthrown for 1,109 yards at No. 10 Georgia (5-1).

Ranked second nationally in passing efficiency, LeFors has led Louisville to a 4-1 record and a No. 15 national ranking. Orlovsky has passed for 1,659 yards and 12 touchdowns at Connecticut (4-2), ranking 17th nationally in total offense. Orton has thrown for1,877 yards and 19 touchdowns at No. 12 Purdue (5-1) while ranking fourth nationally in total offense.

Eleventh nationally in passing efficiency, White has thrown for 1,228 yards and 13 touchdowns for second-ranked Oklahoma.

The nation's top senior quarterback is selected for the award from a list compiled by a select committee of football experts from across the United States. The 2004 recipient will be announced Dec. 1, with the award presentation to be made in Louisville on December 10 at the Clarion Conference Center.

The organization is currently accepting ticket orders for the award dinner (502-485-3331). Tickets are $35 each or tables of eight for $280.

The prestigious award bears the name of who many refer to as the finest quarterback to ever play the game of football. Established in 1987, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award has previously honored 14 outstanding young men.

Mississippi quarterback Eli Manning 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), Payton Manning (Tennessee, 1997), Cade McNown (UCLA, 1998), Chris Redman (Louisville, 1999), Chris Weinke (Florida State, 2000), David Carr (Fresno State, 2001), and Carson Palmer (USC, 2002).

In addition to honoring a player with the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, the Frank Camp Chapter of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation has awarded more than $500,000 in scholarships to deserving scholar athletes from area high schools.In addition, the foundation honors participants in six local youth leagues. The organization was formerly associated with the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.

The Transamerica Insurance and Investment Group, a leading provider of innovative business and personal financial services, is a major corporate sponsor for the award and organization as well as Southwest Airlines, the official airline for the Johnny UnitasGolden Arm Educational Foundation; and WAVE3, the official Kentucky Derby station. Insight Communications, the eighth-largest cable operator in the United States serving Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio, is an active sponsor and will televise the event on adelayed basis.

The namesake of the award has a storied history which has earned him the recognition of being the greatest quarterback to ever play in the NFL.

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. In turn of the century listings, Unitas was featured among Sports Illustrated's top ten athletes, Time's ten most influential athletes and in ESPN's series on the 50 greatest athletes of the century.

Additional information on the award or organization may be obtained from Frank Gitschier (phone: 502-897-6563).

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