STORRS, Conn. (August 26, 2004) University of Connecticut quarterback Dan Orlovsky (Shelton, Conn.) was named on Thursday to the preseason Watch List for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. The trophy is annually presented to the nations top senior quarterback by the Louisville-based Frank Camp Chapter of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation.
Orlovsky joins West Virginias Rasheed Marshall as the only BIG EAST players selected for the 22-man list. The strong-armed senior is second amongst all active players with his 61 career touchdown passes and eighth in career passing yards with 7,352. He has thrown a touchdown pass in a school-record 24 consecutive games. After guiding the Huskies to wins in 13 of the teams last 16 games, Orlovsky stands poised to break every major UConn career passing record this upcoming season.
The award is named for Johnny Unitas, considered by some to be the greatest quarterback in NFL history. A relatively unknown ninth-round pick out of the University of Louisville, Unitas played in the NFL for 18 seasons, mostly with the Baltimore Colts. His 40,239 career passing yards and 290 career touchdown passes still rank ninth and sixth, respectively, in NFL history while his streak of 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass is often compared to Joe DiMaggios 56-game hit streak. He led the Colts to a pair of NFL titles, including a fabled 23-17 overtime win over the New York Giants at Yankee Stadium in the 1958 NFL Championship Game. A three-time league MVP, Unitas was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
The Unitas Golden Arm Award was presented last fall to Eli Manning of Ole Miss. Although no Husky has ever won it, the inaugural winner of the award is a familiar face to the team. Don McPherson of Syracuse captured the prize in 1987, playing on a team for which Randy Edsall served as an assistant coach. McPherson was visibly involved with the Huskies the past two seasons as he provided color commentary for close to a dozen UConn football games during the past two seasons on WFSB TV-3 in Hartford and for the YES Network.
In all, five Huskies appear on Watch Lists for major national awards as the 2004 season approaches: Alfred Fincher (Butkus); Billy Irwin (Rimington); Ryan Krug (Lombardi, Outland); Maurice Lloyd (Butkus; Nagurski) and Dan Orlovsky (Maxwell, OBrien, Unitas, Walter Camp).
The Huskies begin their 2004 regular season on September 4 when they play host to Murray State at 12:00 p.m.