Aplin named to Manning Award watch list

JONESBORO (AStateRedWolves.com) - Arkansas State senior quarterback Ryan Aplin has been named to the Allstate Sugar Bowl's Manning Award Watch List heading into the 2012 season, the Manning Award committee announced Friday.

Aplin, the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, was one of two Sun Belt players named Friday to the Watch List, which will include 25 of the top quarterbacks in the nation going into the 2012 season.  The winner of the Manning Award will be announced after the bowls in January and will be honored at a ceremony in New Orleans.  The field of top quarterbacks will be narrowed to 10 Nov. 26, and the final winner will be announced Jan. 9.

As a junior, Aplin completed 63.9 percent (304-of-476) of his passes for 3,588 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also led the Red Wolves in rushing with 588 yards and 10 touchdowns. Arkansas State won the Sun Belt Championship with a perfect 8-0 league mark while finishing 10-3 overall.

Aplin was also the 2011-12 Sun Belt Conference Male Student-Athlete of the Year and is a two-time All-Sun Belt Conference first-team selection.  He will enter his senior season with 16 school records to his credit, including eight season, five single-game and three career marks.  He enters his senior season as the SBC's fourth all-time leader in total offense, completions and passing yards.  Among active players, Aplin is the nation's fifth leading player in career passing yards and completions, and fourth leading player in career total offense.  He was recently named the USA Today Preseason Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, and was named to Athlon's, Blue Ribbon College Yearbook and Phil Steele's preseason first-team All-Sun Belt Conference lists. Aplin is also on the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Watch List heading into the 2012 season.

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 includes the candidates' bowl performances in its balloting.

The Manning Award will be recognizing its ninth winner this year. USC's Matt Leinart was the inaugural winner of the award in 2005, followed by Texas' Vince Young in 2006. Both went on to be top 10 NFL draft picks. In 2007, LSU's JaMarcus Russell earned the award and was the NFL's No. 1 draft pick. Boston College's Matt Ryan claimed the award in 2008 and was drafted No. 3, quickly becoming the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. In 2009, Floridastar Tim Tebow earned the honor – he also went on to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. The 2010 winner was Texas signal-caller Colt McCoy, the winningest quarterback in college football history, who was selected by theCleveland Browns in the draft. Auburn's Cameron Newton earn the award in 2011, prior to being selected No. 1 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the CarolinaPanthers. This past season's honoree was Robert Griffin, III, from Baylor, who was also a top NFL draft pick (No. 2 overall by the Washington Redskins).

Aplin and the Red Wolves open the season Sept. 1 at Oregon, with thefirst home game scheduled for Sept. 8 against Memphis.  Season tickets for ASU's 2012 football campaign are currently on sale at the ASU Ticket Office. The ticket office can be contacted at 870-972-ASU1, or tickets can be purchased online through A-State's official athletic website, AStateRedWolves.com.