Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace hopes to become the first player to win the C Spire Conerly Trophy in consecutive years, and Mississippi State offensive guard Gabe Jackson bids to become the first offensive lineman to ever win the award.
Wallace and Jackson are two of the 10 finalists named by their respective schools Monday for the award that goes annually to the player voted Mississippi's most outstanding college football player.
Joining Jackson and Wallace as finalists are prolific running backs Arnold Walker of Alcorn State and Mike Barthelemy of Millsaps; quarterbacks Clayton Moore of Jackson State and Jonathan Redd of Mississippi College; offensive lineman Matt Hall of Belhaven; wide receiver Ricky Hunt of Delta State; defensive tackle Khyri Thornton of Southern Miss; and cornerback Avery Boykin of Mississippi Valley State.
The 18th C Spire Conerly Trophy will be awarded Dec. 3 at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson. Among past winners were such prominent future NFL standouts as Eli Manning, Deuce McAllister, Jerious Norwood, Michael Boley, Patrick Willis, Anthony Dixon and many others. In 2014, McAllister, the leading rusher and touchdown scorer in Ole Miss and New Orleans Saints history, will be the first C Spire Conerly winner to enter the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. Tickets are available at 601-982-8264 or at msfame.com. There will be a 5:30 p.m. reception followed by a 6:30 p.m. banquet.
Manning won the Conerly as a sophomore and again as a senior. He is the only two-time winner of the award named for College Football Hall of Famer Charlie Conerly, who also starred for the New York Giants.
For the first time in history of the C Spire Conerly, the general public has the opportunity to be involved in the voting through social media. Fan voting will account for 10 percent of the vote. The other 90 percent will come from a statewide panel of media who cover Mississippi college football. Fan voting will began today and will conclude on Dec. 2 at 8 a.m.
Just as the media voters do, fans will vote for a first-place, second-place and third-place winner. Fans will be able to vote by Facebook, Twitter and via text messaging. For entry rules and qualifications on fan voting, go to www.cspire.com/conerly.
Jackson, a preseason All-America guard, is also one of the frontrunners for the first Kent Hull Trophy, which will be selected by a panel of experts (including former college coaches, players and pro scouts) and will be announced later this week and will be awarded at the C Spire Conerly event. Named in honor of the former Mississippi State and Buffalo Bills star, the Hull Trophy will go to the top offensive lineman in the state.