EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State fifth-year senior Brian Hoyer, an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by the media in 2007, is listed among 26 preseason candidates for the 2008 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, presented annually since 1987 to the nation’s top senior quarterback by Transamerica Insurance and Investment Group. Hoyer is one of four Big Ten quarterbacks being considered for the Unitas Golden Arm Award, including Northwestern’s C.J. Bacher, Ohio State’s Todd Boeckman and Purdue’s Curtis Painter.
The 6-foot-3, 212-pound Hoyer ranked among the Big Ten leaders in passing efficiency (fifth with his 131.9 rating), passing yards (fifth at 209.62 ypg.) and total offense (seventh at 201.5 ypg.) as a junior. He completed 223-of-376 throws (.593) for 2,725 yards, 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His 223 completions (third), 376 pass attempts (second), 2,725 passing yards (third) and 20 TD passes (tied for fourth) all rank among the top single-season totals in Spartan history. Hoyer recorded six 200-yard passing games last season.
"Brian Hoyer had a very productive junior year," Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said. "As a first-year starter, Brian played with confidence, displayed good vision, had very good retention and was very coachable. He learned an awful lot as Drew Stanton’s understudy for two years and that transferred onto the field last fall.
"Brian is an outstanding leader, who has a great presence in the huddle, and I know that he’s looking forward to having a special senior year."
He connected on 16-of-21 passes for 257 yards and a career-best four TDs in MSU’s 35-31 victory over Penn State in the regular-season finale.
Hoyer completed 22-of-31 throws (.710) for 266 yards and two scores in Michigan State’s 48-31 victory at Purdue. During one stretch against the Boilermakers, Hoyer completed 11 straight passes for 119 yards. His 22 completions were distributed to eight different receivers.
Hoyer recorded his third career 300-yard passing game and his second of the season, completing 25-of-42 throws for 308 yards at Iowa. His 25 completions and 42 attempts marked season highs.
He completed 20-of-23 passes (.870) for 190 yards and a TD in MSU’s 52-27 Homecoming victory over Indiana.
He hit 22-of-36 throws for 323 yards and two TDs in MSU’s 37-34 loss at ninth-ranked Wisconsin.
Hoyer completed 11-of-24 passes for 135 yards and a career-best four TDs to lead Michigan State to a 31-14 victory over Notre Dame, as the Spartans became the first team to win six-straight games in Notre Dame Stadium.
He hit 17-of-29 passes for 250 yards and two scores in MSU’s 28-17 victory over Bowling Green.
Hoyer connected on 14-of-17 throws (.824) for 201 yards and a TD in MSU’s 55-18 victory over UAB in the 2007 season opener. The Spartans scored touchdowns on their first six possessions against UAB, with five of those scoring drives directed by Hoyer. He completed his first 10 pass attempts for 172 yards against the Blazers.
The North Olmsted, Ohio, native already ranks among MSU’s career leaders in TD passes (No. 7 with 26), pass completions (No. 8 at 320), pass attempts (No. 9 at 543), completion percentage (No. 9 at .589) and passing efficiency rating (No. 10 at 127.7). Hoyer needs just 82 passing yards to crack MSU’s all-time Top 10 in that category. The three-year letterman has compiled a 7-7 record in 14 career starts.
The award is named in honor of National Football League legend Johnny Unitas, who threw for 40,239 yards and 290 TDs during his 18-year pro career (Baltimore Colts, 1956-72; San Diego Chargers, 1973). He threw a TD pass in an NFL-record 47 consecutive games. Unitas, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979, made 10 Pro Bowl appearances, earned All-Pro honors nine times and was selected league MVP on three occasions (1959, 1964 and 1967).
A four-year letterman at Louisville from 1951-54, Unitas passed for more than 3,000 yards and 27 TDs during his collegiate career. He ranks as the only player in Louisville football history to have his jersey number (No. 16) retired.
The 2008 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award will be presented on Dec. 5 at the Tremont Grand in Baltimore, Md.