Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph was the surprising winner of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award in an announcement made Thursday.
Rudolph was the selection over Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield in balloting for the award that goes to the nation's top senior quarterback. Mayfield is the prohibitive favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.
Rudolph leads the nation with 4,553 passing yards and has 35 touchdowns against nine interceptions.
"Winning the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award is a meaningful honor for me because this is a reflection of how I was raised," Rudolph said in a statement. "I was taught from a young age that there is more to life than football and I'm thankful to the committee for selecting me. I am humbled and thankful to everyone who helped me get to this point."
The Unitas Award factors in character, citizenship, scholastic achievement and leader qualities in addition to football performance. That certainly was a factor in Rudolph winning the award.
"Mason represents our football program the right way. He's won a ton of games for us. He's played with broken ribs, he's played with a broken foot and he's been tremendous for this school and tremendous for society," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said in a statement. "I had a conversation with his mom and dad and told them for everything that he's done (on the field), as a parent, you should be more proud of what he's done (in the community). He's awesome."
The award ceremony is Dec. 8 in Baltimore.
The other finalists were Ohio State's J.T. Barrett, North Carolina State's Ryan Finley and Penn State's Trace McSorley.