HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato was named as one of 10 additions to the Manning Award Watch List on Wednesday. The award is presented to the nation’s top collegiate quarterback, and the winner will be announced after the bowls in January and will be honored at a banquet in New Orleans.
Cato has had a stellar first half in 2012, leading the nation in completions (218) and passing yards (2,311), while ranking third in total offense (2,351) and tying for fifth in touchdown passes (18). Earlier this week, he also was named a midseason first-team All-Conference USA quarterback by Phil Steele. The sophomore from Miami also leads C-USA in pass efficiency (147.3). His 64.9 percent career completion percentage ranks him second at Marshall only to Byron Leftwich (65.1).
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.
After announcing 25 quarterbacks to watch during the preseason, the Manning Award opted to increase its player focus, based on the many outstanding performances during the first half of the year. While these players have been added to the Watch List, every quarterback in the nation remains eligible to win the honor.
Ten finalists will be determined by a selected panel of national college football media, as well as each of the Mannings. That list will be released Nov. 28. The winner will be announced Jan. 9.
Marshall (2-4 overall, 1-1 Conference USA) will travel to Southern Mississippi (0-6, 0-2) for a 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT kickoff on Saturday. The game will be televised by CBS Sports Network with Dave Ryan, Steve Beuerlein and Evan Washburn on the call.