Andrew Luck, who led Stanford to an 11-1 record this season and its second consecutive Bowl Championship Series bowl, has been named one of five finalists for the Heisman Trophy, which honors the nation's most outstanding college football player.
Luck, who finished second in last year's Heisman Trophy balloting behind Auburn's Cam Newton, joins Wisconsin's Montee Ball, Baylor's Robert Griffin III, LSU's Tyrann Mathieu and Alabama's Trent Richardson as finalists for college football's top individual honor.
Luck and the other finalists will be on hand for the Heisman Trophy presentation on Saturday in New York City. The winner will be announced during a live televised special on ESPN beginning at 5 p.m. PT.
Luck's selection marks the third consecutive year a Stanford player has been included among the finalists for the Heisman Trophy, following Toby Gerhart's runner-up finish in 2009 and Luck's initial trip last year.
Luck, who was named the Pac-12's Offensive Player of the Year for a second straight season, has completed 261 of 373 passes (70.0) for 3,170 yards and 35 touchdowns this season. He leads the Pac-12 in passing efficiency (167.5) and under his guidance the Cardinal is averaging 43.6 points a game, which ranks fifth nationally, and 480.9 yards a game in total offense.
He has quarterbacked Stanford to a 23-2 record dating to last season, as the Cardinal has spent a school-record 22 weeks ranked in the Top 10 of the Associated Press poll.
In the regular season finale against Notre Dame, Luck broke Stanford's single season and career mark for touchdown passes, running his totals to 35 and 80, respectively. He also set a new career standard for total offense with 10,218 yards.
Stanford is 31-6 (.838) in Luck's 37 career starts. His 31 wins as a starter ranks first among the school's all-time list of quarterbacks.
Jim Plunkett is the only Stanford player ever to win the Heisman Trophy since its inception in 1935. Plunkett won the 1970 Heisman after he guided Stanford to a 9-3 record, which included a victory over Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. He garnered 510 of a possible 1,059 first place votes cast.
Other Stanford players who have finished in the top 10 in the balloting for the Heisman Trophy include Frankie Albert (3rd; 1940), Norman Standlee (9th; 1940), Bill McColl (4th; 1951), Bobby Garrett (5th; 1953), Guy Benjamin (7th; 1977), Darrin Nelson (6th; 1981), John Elway (2nd; 1982), Glyn Milburn (9th; 1992), Toby Gerhart (2nd; 2009), Luck (2nd; 2010) and Owen Marecic (10th; 2010).
Luck on Monday was named the recipient of the 2011 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is presented to the top quarterback in the nation that best exemplifies outstanding character, citizenship, scholastic achievement, leadership qualities, and athletic accomplishments.
Named after the man many refer to as the greatest quarterback ever to play football, the Golden Arm Award will be presented Friday in downtown Baltimore by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc. and Transamerica.
"Andrew personifies everything that my father stood for. He is an outstanding quarterback and an outstanding individual, a leader both on and off the field," says John C. Unitas, Jr., President of The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation.
Beyond his numbers on the field, Luck carries a 3.48 cumulative grade point average and was selected to the Pac-12 Conference's All-Academic First Team.
Former winners of the Golden Arm Award include Colt McCoy (Texas, 2009), Matt Ryan (Boston College, 2007), Eli Manning (Ole Miss, 2003), and Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997).
Also on Monday, Luck and right guard David DeCastro were named to the 2011 American Football Coaches Association All-America team, which was announced on Monday by the AFCA.
The AFCA has selected an All-America team since 1945 and currently selects teams in all five of its divisions. What makes these teams so special is that they are the only ones chosen exclusively by the men who know the players the best the coaches themselves.
Luck is a finalist for the Walter Camp Foundation Player of the Year, Maxwell and Davey O'Brien Awards.
DeCastro, who is a finalist for the Outland Trophy, helped anchor a Stanford offensive line which allowed just nine sacks this season while paving the way for the Cardinal's running game to average 207.92 yards on the ground.