Fans who get excited for awards season should be just as excited for what precedes it — award watch list season. Especially University of Idaho football fans. The Vandals’ senior quarterback Matt Linehan was named to the watch list for a prestigious award.
The Manning Award is an award given to the best quarterback in the country based on season and bowl game performances. At the conclusion of the season, a panel of elite judges, including legendary football player Peyton Manning, will choose the recipient.
The award was founded in 2004 by the AllState Sugar Bowl with the purpose of honoring college football greats Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning, according to the official site of the AllState Sugar Bowl.
The 2017-2018 award will be given out in its 13th year, with a long history of successors behind it. Former winners of the award include: Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota, and two-time winner Deshaun Watson.
Leading up to the final award, the eight recipients will be chosen on a weekly basis as the Manning Award Stars of the week. This is a recognition Linehan is familiar with as he was named one of the Stars of the Week in the 2016-2017 season following a strong performance against New Mexico State.
Entering his senior campaign, Linehan has a strong resume of statistics to show his success with the Idaho program. In his junior year he threw for a total 3,184 yards and 19 touchdowns. Linehan capped off the 2016-2017 season with second-team All-Sun Belt honors and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Most Valuable Player award.
Yet the fourth-year starter has more on the line this upcoming season than the Manning Award. Linehan enters the season in the top-six for all time yards, touchdowns and completions, among others. A strong senior season could push Linehan up the all-time lists, where he could leave an even more permanent mark on the Idaho football program.
Meredith Spelbring can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org