Harnish lands on Manning Award watch list

Chandler Harnish
Chandler Harnish

Northern Illinois senior quarterback Chandler Harnish continues to see his name added to the lists of the top quarterbacks in the nation this preseason as he was one of 31 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) quarterbacks named Monday to the Manning Award Watch List.

The Manning 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.

Already named to the watch lists for the Maxwell Award (top player in college football), the Davey O’Brien Quarterback Award (top quarterback) and the Walter Camp Player of the Year honor, the Manning Award holds special significance for Harnish, a native of Bluffton, Ind. who grew up watching Peyton star for the Indianapolis Colts.

He is one of two Mid-American Conference signal-callers on the list as Western Michigan’s Alex Carder was also recognized.

Five NIU players have now been named 10 times to preseason award watch lists for 2011.

Offensive tackle Trevor Olson was named to the Outland Trophy (best lineman) Watch List and center Scott Wedige is on the Rimington Trophy (top center) listing. Olson, Wedige and defensive end Sean Progar were all named to the Rotary Lombardi Award (top down lineman or linebacker) Watch List, while safety and return specialist Tommy Davis is on the Paul Hornung Award (most versatile player) radar.

Harnish has garnered unprecedented preseason attention for an NIU quarterback after a record-breaking junior season, his third as the NIU starter.

A year ago, Harnish set Northern Illinois school records for total offense in a career (7,332 yards), and in a season (3,366 yards) while leading the Huskies to the most wins in school history (11) and the team single season marks for scoring (38.0 points per game), touchdowns (69) and yards per game (450.0). He completed 189-of-292 passes for 2,530 yards and 21 touchdowns with just five interceptions in 13 starts while rushing for 836 yards and seven scores in 2010.

Harnish leads a Northern Illinois offense that returns nine of 11 starters in 2011. The first Huskie quarterback ever to earn first-team All Mid-American Conference honors from league coaches, Harnish was also named the MAC Player of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus following the 2010 campaign. He was named the MVP of Northern Illinois’ 40-17 win over Fresno State in the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl after passing for 300 yards and a score and rushing for 72 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns, and enters his senior season with 40 career touchdown passes and 13 rushing scores.

The Manning Award Watch List was selected together based on previous collegiate performance. Additional quarterbacks could be added to the Watch List after the start of the season.

The list of 10 finalists will be released on Monday, Nov. 28, with the winner announced on Wednesday, Jan. 18.

For more information on NIU football and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.

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