LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky senior quarterback Stephen Johnson has been named one of the Top 20 candidates for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, it was announced today.
Johnson, a native of Rancho Cucamonga, California, has led UK to a 12-4 record in the last 16 regular-season games, a mark the Wildcats have not exceeded since 1977-78. This season he has completed 99-of-155 passes for 1,238 yards and nine touchdowns with only two interceptions.
He currently ranks fifth in the Southeastern Conference in total offense (230.3) and passing average per game (206.3), and is 37th nationally and seventh in the league in pass efficiency rating (147.5).
Johnson also ranks third on the team in rushing yards with 144 yards on 47 carries, along with two scores.
The Golden Arm Award is presented at the end of each season since 1987 to the nation’s top college quarterback, based on his accomplishments both on and off the field. Candidates must be a college senior or fourth-year junior on schedule to graduate with their class. These strong leaders have demonstrated a commitment to excellence and worked hard for themselves and their teams during the season and beyond.
“The Golden Arm Award considers character, citizenship, integrity, leadership, and honor – characteristics that were displayed by my father – to be every bit as important as the quarterback’s completion rate or number of touchdowns scored,” says John C. Unitas, Jr., President of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc. “Despite my Dad’s outstanding accomplishments, he never forgot his humble beginnings and that won him a permanent place in the hearts of everyone who ever knew him.”
In 2017, The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award will be presented at a ceremony on Friday, December 8th, in Baltimore, MD. For the 2017 Golden Arm Award ceremony, The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc. is happy to be returning to the beautifully renovated Embassy Suites Baltimore Inner Harbor & The Grand.
Proceeds from the event help support the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc. The Foundation provides financial assistance to underprivileged and deserving young scholar-athletes throughout Maryland and Kentucky.
The namesake of the Golden Arm Award has a storied history. Johnny Unitas was an 18-year veteran of the NFL, who played his collegiate career at the University of Louisville before joining the Baltimore Colts in 1958. His career passing figures include 2,830 pass completions for 40,239 yards, 290 touchdowns and throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games.
Past standout winners of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award® 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 Andrew Luck (Stanford, 2011), Marcus Mariota (Oregon, 2014) Last year’s winner Connor Cook (Michigan State,2015) Last year’s winner Deshaun Watson, Clemson