ATLANTA, Ga. (September 1) — Georgia Tech quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Joe Hamilton has been selected one of 16 preseason candidates for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, presented annually to the nation’s top senior quarterback by the Frank Camp Chapter of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation.
In addition to Hamilton, this year’s Tech team includes preseason nominees for the Biletnikoff Award (receiver) in junior split end Dez White (Orange Park, Fla.), the Jim Thorpe Award (defensive back) in senior free safety Travares Tillman (Lyons, Ga.) and Butkus Award (linebacker) in senior linebacker Chris Edwards (Warthen, Ga.).
Hamilton, the senior from Alvin, S.C., earned first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in 1998 as he passed for 2,166 yards and a school-record 17 touchdowns while throwing just eight interceptions. He also rushed for 298 yards and four scores, averaging 224.0 yards of total offense per game and leading Tech’s record-setting offense to 35.5 points per game.
Hamilton enters his senior season with the top pass efficiency rating in school history at 136.8, also the sixth-best mark in ACC history. The current school record is 134.6 by Toppy Vann from 1953-56, while the ACC standard is held by Thad Busby of Florida State at 144.89.
Hamilton’s numbers over the last two seasons are even more impressive. For his sophomore and junior seasons, the 5-10, 189-pounder has an efficiency rating of 144.22. During those two years, he has averaged 203.6 yards passing and 238.9 yards of total offense per game while completing 60.3 percent of his passes. Hamilton has thrown 29 touchdown passes against just 15 interceptions over the last two seasons.
Other nominees for the Unitas Award include Jamie Barnette of NC State, Tee Martin of Tennessee, Jarious Jackson of Notre Dame, Tim Rattay of Louisiana Tech and Chris Redman of Louisville. The list will be trimmed to five finalists on Oct. 27, with the winner announced Nov. 24.