Tebow wins Manning Award

Surrounded by media, Tim Tebow waves to the crowd following the Gators' 24-14 win against Oklahoma for the BCS Championship Thursday Jan. 8, 2009.

Rob C. Witzel/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 2:47 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 2:47 p.m.

If the Heisman did it like the Manning Award, maybe Florida quarterback Tim Tebow would have two Heisman trophies on his family's mantle right now.

On Thursday, Tebow was named the recipient of the fifth annual Manning Award, which was created by Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning to recognize the top quarterback in college football. It is the only postseason college award that takes into consideration bowl performances.

In a head-to-head showdown with Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford in the BCS Championship Game, Tebow came out the winner, which obviously weighed heavily in his winning the Manning Award. Bradford, of course, won the 2008 Heisman, which was awarded on Dec. 13.

"It's a great award," Tebow said on a teleconference Thursday afternoon. "It's one of the best because it takes in their bowl play, which is probably the biggest game of the year. They do the award after the season, and that's something that really makes the award special.

"And it's coming from the Mannings, who go down as some of the greatest quarterbacks in football history. It's very special for me."

In the national title game, Tebow led the Gators to a 24-14 victory over Bradford's Sooners, throwing for 232 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 109 yards.

"Tim is one of the greatest football players I've ever seen," Archie Manning said. "He's developed every year. He's developed so much as a player, as a quarterback, as a passer. When you look at him as an overall football player and his ability to lead his team, and will his team to win, I don't think I've ever seen anybody do it better."

Past winners of the award are Vince Young (Texas), Matt Leinart (Southern Cal), JaMarcus Russell (LSU) and Matt Ryan (Boston College).

"We are really thrilled about the past winners," Archie Manning said. "We are just very proud to add Tim to this list."

The four previous winners all went on to be top 10 picks in the NFL draft.

Archie Manning said Tebow made the right decision to return for his senior season, and that he'll be a successful NFL quarterback in the future.

"It was a great decision and he'll find that out next season," Manning said. "There are so many special things about being a senior. I think that had a lot to do with Peyton and Eli deciding to come back. It's a decision he'll look back on and be thankful for for many years.

"I've seen so much improvement in Tim. The pro people haven't seen Tim do a lot of the things that are expected of a quarterback in the NFL. But I don't have any doubt that he'll be able to make those adjustments and be an excellent NFL player."

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