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Watson and Mayfield headline Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award finalists

Photo by Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire

Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield are among the five finalists named Tuesday for the 2016 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.

The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, first introduced in 1987, honors the nation’s best quarterback who is in at least his fourth year of college, and is on track to graduate. Recent recipients include Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Marcus Mariota.

This year’s honor will be awarded on Friday, Dec. 9, in Baltimore. The following are the five finalists for 2016.

Luke Falk, Washington State

Former walk-on Luke Falk took over as Washington State’s starting quarterback in 2015, and the Cougars have amassed a 15-6 record since. Falk has led the 2016 Cougars to a 6-2 mark, with a perfect 5-0 ledger in the Pac-12 Conference.

Falk ranks second in the nation with 365.8 passing yards per game. He’s thrown 24 touchdowns with just five interceptions, and has completed nearly 73 percent of his pass attempts.

Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech

One of the most exciting, dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, Patrick Mahomes powers the nation’s second-ranked scoring offense at Texas Tech (47.4 points per game).

Mahomes leads the nation with a whopping 439.9 passing yards per game, and has scored 28 touchdowns through the air. He’s tacked on another 10 rushing scores for good measure.

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Surging in recent Heisman projections, Baker Mayfield arrives among Golden Arm Award finalists at a time when he’s coasting along.

Mayfield has been outstanding of late, throwing 15 of his 27 touchdown passes in the last three games. On the season, Mayfield’s completed nearly 71 percent of his pass attempts for almost 2,600 yards, and he’s been intercepted only five times.

Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina

The dual-threat engine driving North Carolina’s potent offense, Mitch Trubisky has emerged as one of the 2016 season’s most pleasant surprises. He’s thrown an incredible 18 touchdown passes against just two interceptions, and completed better than 70 percent of his attempts.

Trubisky has also run for four touchdowns to help keep the Tar Heels in the thick of the ACC Coastal title race.

Deshaun Watson, Clemson

2015 Heisman Trophy finalist Deshaun Watson’s turned in another stellar season in 2016. Watson has the Tigers on pace to return to the College Football Playoff with 22 touchdown passes, and 331 rushing yards to complement his 2,328 passing.

Watson’s award worthiness has shined through most at the end of Clemson’s most critical games. Last week against Florida State, he led a game-winning drive — much as he did earlier in the season against Louisville.

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