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Wisconsin football: Graham Mertz added to Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watch list

The sophomore QB is primed for a big season.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday morning, the starting quarterback for the Wisconsin Badgers, Graham Mertz, was named to the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watch list.

The Golden Arm Award annually recognizes the top senior or upperclassman quarterback set to graduate with their class. The semifinalists, finalists, and award recipient are selected by the distinguished Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Selection Committee, a group of prominent college football journalists, commentators, announcers, and former players. Candidates are chosen based on player performance on-and-off the field.

Mertz had a stellar first two games of his career, before contracting COVID-19 and also suffering an, unreported during the season, shoulder injury. He ended last season with 1,238 yards (61.1%), nine touchdowns and five interceptions, but with his full complement of receiving options back in Madison for one more year those numbers should greatly improve.

A number of Wisconsin opposing signal callers made the watch list as well: Sean Clifford (Penn State), Jack Coan (!!!, Notre Dame), Adrian Martinez (Nebraska), Tanner Morgan (Minnesota), Brandon Peters (Illinois), Spencer Petras (Iowa) and Jack Plummer (Purdue). Alabama’s Mac Jones won the award last year and LSU’s Joe Burrow won the year before that. The last winner to hail from the Big Ten is Connor Cook of Michigan State who took home the award in 2015. Wisconsin legend Scott Tolzien won the award in 2010.