Caleb Evans named Top 20 finalist for Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award

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Caleb Evans, ULM QB

MONROE, La. – ULM senior Caleb Evans, who has accounted for 1,458 yards total offense and 15 touchdowns through five games, has been named one of the Top 20 finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, presented annually since 1987 to the nation’s top college quarterback.

Candidates for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award must be college seniors or fourth-year juniors on schedule to graduate with their class. In addition to the accomplishments on the field, candidates are judged on their character, citizenship, scholarship achievement and leadership qualities. Other finalists for the 2019 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award include Southern Miss’ Jack Abraham, Notre Dame’s Ian Book, Boston College’s Anthony Brown, Missouri’s Kelly Bryant, LSU’s Joe Burrow, Washington’s Jacob Eason, North Texas’ Mason Fine, Duke’s Quentin Harris, Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Utah’s Tyler Huntley, Michigan State’s Brian Lewerke, Hawaii’s Cole McDonald, Colorado’s Steven Montez, Michigan’s Shea Patterson, Virginia’s Bryce Perkins, Iowa’s Nate Stanley, Appalachian State’s Zach Thomas and Memphis’ Brady White.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Evans has completed 101-of-162 throws (.623) for 1,172 yards, 10 TDs and three interceptions. He also has rushed for 286 yards and a team-leading five rushing TDs. Evans ranks among the NCAA FBS leaders in points responsible for (No. 12 with 90 points) and total offense (No. 19 at 291.6 yards per game). Evans also ranks among the Sun Belt Conference leaders in passing yards (third at 234.4 yards per game), total offense (third) and TD passes (tied for third with 10).

Evans needs 257 passing yards at Texas State Thursday night to become the third quarterback in ULM history to reach the 8,000-yard career milestone (Kolton Browning, 2010-13: 10,263 career passing yards; and Steven Jyles, 2002-05: 8,987).

He ranks as one of four NCAA FBS quarterbacks to post multiple games with at least two passing and two rushing TDs (at Florida State and vs. Memphis), joining Ohio State’s Justin Fields, Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts and Iowa State’s Brock Purdy.

“Caleb Evans is a true dual-threat quarterback,” ULM head coach Matt Viator said. “Caleb can make all the throws, and he does a solid job of spreading the ball around in the passing game. He also makes solid decisions in the RPO game and has a knack for making big plays at critical moments in the game.

“Caleb is a great competitor and leader, who’s off to a quick start in his senior season. He’s consistently playing at a high level, and I know he’s looking forward to playing his best football during the Sun Belt Conference race.”

He accounted for 398 yards total offense and four touchdowns in ULM’s 52-33 loss to No. 23 Memphis. Evans recorded his third 200-yard passing game of the season and 19th of his career, completing 23-of-44 throws for 286 yards and two scores. He completed passes to nine different receivers, including TD strikes of 6 and 36 yards to tight end Josh Pederson. Evans also posted his first 100-yard rushing game of the season and fourth of his career, gaining 112 yards on 18 carries. He scored on runs of 7 and 45 yards.

Evans accounted for 313 yards total offense and four TDs to lead ULM to a 30-17 victory over South Alabama in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams. He completed 17-of-25 throws for 286 yards, including TD strikes of 20 yards to Pederson, 52 to Markis McCray and 21 to Jonathan Hodoh. Evans scored on a 13-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter.

He accounted for 273 yards total offense and four touchdowns in ULM’s 45-44 overtime loss at Florida State. After starting 0-for-7 passing, Evans finished 23-of-38 for 241 yards, including scoring strikes of 33 yards to Pederson and 2 yards to Xavier Brown. Evans also rushed 10 times for 32 yards, including TD runs of 10 and 5 yards. He led ULM on four-consecutive scoring drives (three TDs and a field goal) during one stretch in the second half, as the Warhawks rallied from a 21-0 deficit in the second quarter to send the game into overtime tied at 38.

Evans has started 27 consecutive games at quarterback – the seventh-longest active streak among NCAA FB QBs.

The Mansfield, Texas, native has completed 619-of-1,024 passes (.604) for 7,743 yards, 47 TDs and 27 interceptions in 36 career games. Evans already ranks among ULM’s all-time Top 5 in pass completions (third), completion percentage (second), passing efficiency rating (third at 133.8), total offense (third with 9,403 career yards), passing yards (fourth), passing yards per game (fifth at 215.1 ypg.), pass attempts (fifth) and TD passes (fifth).

Evans ranks among the active NCAA Football Subdivision leaders (Top 20) in 12 different statistical categories: fourth among 11 quarterbacks with at least 4,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards (9,403), seventh in total offense, eighth in total offense per game (261.2), ninth in passing yards), ninth in total touchdowns responsible for (76), 10th in rushing TDs (29), 10th in pass attempts, 10th in pass completions, 15th in total offense yards per play (6.65), 16th in passing yards per game, 17th in total TDs scored (29) and 18th in pass completion percentage.

He already ranks as ULM’s all-time leader in rushing yards (1,660) and rushing touchdowns (29) for a quarterback.

Evans needs to reach the end zone one more time to tie the school record for career rushing TDs, currently held by former running back Calvin Dawson (30; 2004-07).

The Golden Arm Award is named in honor of the late Johnny Unitas, who threw for 3,007 yards and 27 touchdowns during his four-year collegiate career at Louisville (1951-54). He was selected in the ninth round (No. 102 overall) by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1955 National Football League Draft. Unitas spent 18 years in the NFL (1956-73), including 17 seasons with the Baltimore Colts and one year with the San Diego Chargers, and completed 2,830-of-5,186 passes (.546) for 40,239 yards, 290 TDs and 253 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,777 yards and 13 scores. Unitas led the league in TD passes for four-straight seasons from 1957-60. He threw at least one TD pass in 47 consecutive games from 1956-60. A 10-time Pro Bowl selection and five-time first-team All-Pro, Unitas was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.

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