FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas’ KJ Jefferson has been named to the preseason watch list for the Manning Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s best college quarterback.

The Manning Award, created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in honor of the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton, and Eli Manning, is the only quarterback award that includes the candidates’ bowl performances in its balloting. According to a University of Arkansas press release, Jefferson is one of 30 quarterbacks on the watch list.

He led the Hogs to a nine-win season in 2021—their most wins in a year since 2011—as well as their first New Year’s Day bowl game win since the 2000 Cotton Bowl. The Sardis, Miss., native started all 13 games at quarterback, completing 198-of-294 (67.3%) passes for 2,676 yards and 21 touchdowns. 

The face of the Razorback offense, Jefferson threw just four interceptions on the year and completed 171 consecutive passes without an interception, the second-longest streak in program history. He finished the season as one of only five FBS quarterbacks to total 20 or more touchdown passes with four or fewer interceptions.

Jefferson also rushed for a team-leading 664 yards on 146 carries, with six scores on the ground. He was one of eight FBS quarterbacks with 2,500+ passing yards, 20+ passing touchdowns, 500+ rushing yards and 5+ rushing scores on the year.

On the road against Ole Miss, Jefferson completed 25-of-35 (71.4%) passes for 336 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 85 yards and three scores, accounting for six touchdowns—the second-highest single-game total in program history. He became one of only six SEC signal-callers since 2000 to throw for 3+ touchdowns and rush for 3+ scores in the same game, joining Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel, Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott, Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly, LSU QB Joe Burrow and Ole Miss QB Matt Corral.

Finalists for the Manning Award will be selected prior to the postseason, and the winner will be announced following the College Football Playoff National Championship. The winner will again be selected by a voting panel, which includes national media and each of the Mannings.

No. 19 Arkansas opens the season at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 3 against No. 23 Cincinnati on ESPN. Season tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by clicking here or by calling the Razorback Ticket Center at (479) 575-5151.