The award is presented by DeBartolo Sports University.
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE:
TAMPA (December 18, 2007) – DeBartolo Sports University announced today the inception of the "Joe Montana Quarterback of the Year Award." The inaugural award will be presented to the nation's best high school quarterback of 2007, and will be chosen by Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana and Steve Clarkson, quarterback expert and President of DeBartolo Sports University. The winner of the "Joe Montana Quarterback of the Year Award" will be announced on January 1, 2008; and the presentation will be made by Montana and Clarkson during the first half of the upcoming Outback Bowl in Tampa, FL (Tennessee vs. Wisconsin).
Montana is recognized by many experts as the greatest NFL quarterback of all-time and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000. Under the leadership of former San Francisco 49ers owner and DeBartolo Sports University founder Edward DeBartolo Jr., Montana led the 49ers to four Super Bowl championships in 1982, 1985, 1989 and 1990. The "Joe Montana Quarterback of the Year Award" is the first DeBartolo Sport University award.
Says Montana, "Mr. DeBartolo and I share a special bond, and I'm honored that DeBartolo Sports University created its first award in my honor. I am looking forward to working with young quarterbacks as a mentor with the DeBartolo organization."
Adds Clarkson, "Joe is the greatest quarterback to ever play in the NFL, and we couldn't think of a more prestigious award for the country's best high school quarterback." He continues, "There's great young talent ready to be discovered on a national level, and we feel that they should be recognized and acknowledged."
The quarterbacks were graded and evaluated through DeBartolo Sports University's scouting division, which is made up of former college and NFL coaches. A watch-list of the top 50 quarterbacks was created in September, and was narrowed down to 21, 14 and then seven national finalists. The seven finalists include:
Dayne Crist (Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, CA) – Dayne is ranked the #19 recruit in the country, and has committed to play college football at Notre Dame with head coach Charlie Weis. His stats include: 10 games; 134/232 2,178 yards, 16 TDs, 1 INT (81 rushing attempts, 454 yds, 4 TDs).
Matt Barkley (Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, CA) – Matt is the only junior of the list of finalists. He led the #2 team in the country as ranked by ESPN. His stats include: 11 games; 213/340 3,560 yards, 35 TDs, 9 INTs (1 rushing TD).
E.J. Manuel (Bayside High School in Virginia Beach, VA) – Named to the All-Beach District Football team, E.J. finished his high school tenure with over 5,800 yards passing and numerous rushing TDs. His success earned him a spot in the ESPN Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando, FL. Manuel will suit up for the Florida State Seminoles next year. His stats include: 11 games; 126/213 1859 yards, 19 TDs, 5 INTs (57 rushing attempts, 414 yards, 7 rushing TDs).
Landry Jones (Artesia High School in Artesia, NM) – Landry was selected to play in the ESPN Under Armour game, and has a 66% completion ratio. His stats include: 13 games; 218/335 3,343 yards, 45 TDs (294 rushing yards, 9 TDs).
John Weinke (Tuscola High School in Tuscola, IL) – John played in the State finals and threw for 17 TDs in the playoffs alone. His stats include: 14 games; 3, 221 yards, 33 TDs (4 INTs).
Braden Hanson (Charlotte Latin School in Charlotte, NC) – Braden had a 70% completion this year and is committed to play in the ESPN Under Armour All-America game. He won the state championship by throwing four TDs in the state finals and four TDs in semi-finals. His stats include: 13 games; 172/245 2,695 yards, 39 TDs, 12 INTs (30 rush attempts, 101 yards, 4 TDs).
Matt Scott (Centennial High School in Corona, CA) – Matt was a key player on his team that was 9-1 this year. His stats include: 13 games; 153/252 2,167 yards, 15 TDs, 5 INTs (103 attempts, 927 yards, 11 TDs).
About DeBartolo Sports University
DeBartolo Sports University is the amateur sports division of DeBartolo Sports and Entertainment. DeBartolo Sports University was founded by former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., the five-time Super Bowl champion and two-time Stanley Cup Champion. Regarded as the "players owner", Mr. DeBartolo's vision is to improve and help athletes and coaches realize their skills, talents and potentials through unparalleled, first-class developmental programs. For more information please visit: www.debartolosports.com