The Manning Award, now in its eighth 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.
RG3 becomes the third Big 12 quarterback to win the honor, joining former Texas Longhorn players Vince Young (2006) and Colt McCoy (2010). Griffin III declared for the 2012 NFL Draft earlier this month.
"On behalf of my family, I would like to thank the Allstate Sugar Bowl for once again recognizing a very talented quarterback with the Manning Award," said Archie Manning. "I'm not sure we've seen anything like the year that Robert Griffin had this year. Everybody knew he was a star athlete coming into the season, but he has shown the country that he is far, far more than a track star - he is an outstanding quarterback with all of the necessary skills to succeed at that position at any level of football. He is also a tremendous young man, leading by example, excelling in the classroom and providing a positive role model for anyone with whom he comes in contact."
In the closest balloting in the history of the award, the runner-up for this year's honor was Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. The other eight finalists were Matt Barkley (USC), Kirk Cousins (Michigan State), Landry Jones (Oklahoma), Case Keenum (Houston), Kellen Moore (Boise State), Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State), Russell Wilson (Wisconsin) and Tyler Wilson (Arkansas).
Griffin III led Baylor to just its second 10-victory season of all-time, and its first since 1980. Milestone victories for the Bears behind RG3 included their first-ever defeat of Oklahoma (a 45-38 thriller this season with Griffin throwing for 479 yards, including the game-winning touchdown with eight seconds left) and back-to-back wins over Texas for the first time since 1992. The Bears also advanced to back-to-back bowl games for just the fourth time in program history - capping the run with a wild 67-56 win over Washington in this year's Alamo Bowl, the school's first bowl victory since 1992.
The junior signal-caller set or tied 54 school records in three full seasons at Baylor, finishing the 2011 season with school records of 4,293 yards, 37 passing touchdowns and a passer efficiency rating of 189.5 (second-best in NCAA FBS history). RG3 led a powerhouse Baylor offensive attack that ranked second in the nation in total offense (587 ypg), fourth in scoring (45.3 ppg) and first in passing efficiency (191.2 rtg). He finishes his collegiate career as one of three players in FBS history to top 10,000 career passing yards (school-record 10,366) and 2,000 career rushing yards (2,254).
In addition to winning the Manning Award and the Heisman Trophy, Griffin III was named national player of the year by the AP and Sporting News, earned the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award and was a consensus All-America selection. He was also Baylor's first Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year as voted on by the league's coaches.
A native of Copperas Cove, Texas, and graduate of Copperas Cove High School, Griffin III earned second-team Academic All-America honors from Capital One/CoSIDA in 2011 and is a 2010 Baylor graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.
Griffin is the eighth winner of the Manning Award, which began following the 2004 regular season. USC's Matt Leinart was the inaugural winner, followed by Young in 2006. In 2007, LSU's JaMarcus Russell earned the award followed by Boston College's Matt Ryan in 2008 and Tim Tebow from Florida in 2009. McCoy collected the 2010 honor, while Auburn's Cameron Newton was last year's winner. All seven previous winners were selected in the NFL Draft, including five that went within the top 10 picks.