NEW ORLEANS – Marshall senior quarterback Rakeem Cato, a 2014 Heisman Trophy, Walter Camp and Maxwell Award candidate, was named Thursday to the watch list for the 2015 Manning Award.
It is Cato’s fifth national watch list mention in the current preseason. He also is on watch lists for the Walter Camp, Maxwell, Davey O’Brien National Quarterback and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm awards.
The Manning Award is presented annually in January to college football’s top quarterback by the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Prior to the 2004 season, the Manning Award was created by the Sugar Bowl in honor of the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. It is the only college football QB award that includes the candidates' bowl performances in its balloting; therefore, it is presented annually following the completion of the bowl season. The winner is selected by a panel of national media covering college football, as well as each of the Mannings.
Cato is among 32 quarterbacks on the 2014-15 Manning watch list, and one of 18 seniors.
"This is always a great time of year with college football ramping up once again," Archie Manning said. "We have a very strong group of 32 quarterbacks on our Watch List this year and we've seen them all in action, but every year there are new guys who jump right in and become stars. That's what makes college football such a wonderful sport … You never know what might happen once the teams get out on the field."
This is the 11th season the Manning Award has been presented. Past winners are: Matt Leinart, Vince Young, JaMarcus Russell, Matt Ryan, Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, Johnny Manziel and last season’s winner, Jameis Winston of Florida State.
Midseason additions to the Manning Award watch list will be announced Oct. 15 and the finalists will be named Nov. 26. The winner is scheduled to be named on Jan. 14, 2015 following the inaugural College Football Playoff Championship Game.
Cato is on numerous preseason All-Conference USA lists and has been named the league’s top player by most magazines and websites. He was voted by C-USA coaches as the 2014 Preseason C-USA Offensive Player of the Year. The Miami native has thrown a touchdown pass in 32 consecutive games, the high for an active FBS quarterback (FBS record is 38 by Russell Wilson, 2009-11 at N.C. State; 2011 at Wisconsin).
In 39 games in three seasons, Cato has completed 886-of-1,387 passes (63.9 percent) for 10,176 yards and 91 touchdowns. In the red zone, he has thrown for 58 touchdowns with only one interception. The 6-foot-1, 176-pound QB also has rushed for an additional 357 yards and 7 scores.
He was the 2012 C-USA Most Valuable Player and the 2013 C-USA Offensive Player of the Year and is poised to break Marshall passing records held by Herd legends and former NFL players Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich.
A website devoted to the Herd quarterback’s Heisman Trophy candidacy – CatoIn14.com – made its debut two weeks ago.