The 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. The winner will be selected following the bowls in January and be honored at a ceremony in New Orleans.
A starter in all 13 games last year, Sunseri (Pittsburgh, Pa./Pittsburgh Central Catholic) connected on 65% of his passes (223 of 346) for 2,572 yards and 16 touchdowns against nine interceptions. He also showed the ability to make plays on his feet. In the Panthers' BBVA Compass Bowl victory over Kentucky, Sunseri rushed for 53 yards on just four carries (13.3 avg.).
This past summer, Sunseri spent a week in Louisiana as a coach at the Manning Passing Academy – run by the famed Manning family. This is the second national quarterback award to name Sunseri to its preseason watch list. Previously, he was named a candidate for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award presented by the Davey O'Brien Foundation in Fort Worth, Texas.
The 2011 season marks the highly anticipated debut of the Todd Graham coaching era at Pitt. Graham comes to Pittsburgh after an exceptional tenure at Tulsa, where in four years he had three 10-win campaigns and three bowl victories.
He compiled a 36-17 overall record with the Golden Hurricane, including a 10-3 mark last year that was highlighted by a 28-27 victory at Notre Dame and 62-35 win over nationally ranked Hawai'i in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl. Tulsa finished No. 24 in the final Associated Press poll.
Pitt finished with an 8-5 overall record in 2010 and earned a share of the Big East championship with a 5-2 league mark. The Panthers closed the campaign with a 27-10 victory over Kentucky in the BBVA Compass Bowl.