JACKSON, Miss.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--University of Southern Mississippi quarterback Austin Davis, a finalist last year for the Conerly Trophy, won the coveted award on Tuesday night as the Magnolia state’s top college football player in 2011.
Davis led the No. 24-ranked Golden Eagles to a 10-2 record this year and a berth in the Conference USA championship game on Saturday against seventh-ranked Houston. Davis passed for 3,052 yards with 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and ran for another 285 yards and four touchdowns while logging a cumulative 141.3 quarterback rating this year, one of the highest in the nation.
Davis received the trophy during a special awards program Tuesday night in Jackson at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum from master of ceremonies Ron Franklin, a Mississippi native and former longtime ESPN college football and basketball play-by-play announcer. He edged out four other finalists – Mississippi State defensive back Johnthan Banks, Ole Miss defensive back Charles Sawyer, Jackson State quarterback Casey Therriault and Delta State quarterback Micah Davis. A 46-member panel of media members across the state selected the finalists and the winner from among 10 nominees from each of Mississippi’s football-playing four year colleges.
The fifth-year senior from Meridian, Mississippi joints joins three other Golden Eagles as former winners of the coveted award – linebackers Rod Davis (2002) and Michael Boley (2004) and running back Damion Fletcher (2007).
Davis started every game for the Golden Eagles except for an injury-shortened 2009 season and holds every passing record in school history, surpassing the legendary and former NFL great Brett Favre in major categories. The fifth- year senior from Meridian, Miss. praised USM head coach Larry Fedora and the coaching staff for helping him lead the team to one of its most successful seasons in recent history.
“We’re very pleased with the caliber of players selected as nominees and finalists for the Conerly Trophy,” said Jim Richmond, director of Corporate Communications for C Spire Wireless, which has been title sponsor of the Conerly Trophy awards program honoring the state’s best college football player since 1998. “This has been a very strong year in terms of individual and overall performance and leadership among all of the schools who submitted nominees for the award. Our winner is not only a great football player, but an outstanding young man with good character, a strong record of community involvement and a terrific work ethic.”
Now in its 16th year, the Conerly Trophy presented by C Spire Wireless is named after the late Charlie Conerly – the only football inductee in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame who was an All-American at a Mississippi university, an NFL rookie of the year and NFL All-Pro member and quarterbacked a team to a world championship.
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