Three Big Ten candidates named for Unitas Award

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Three Big Ten quarterbacks are among the 20 candidates for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, given to the nation's top senior quarterback.

The first two come as no surprise -- Penn State's Daryll Clark and Illinois' Juice Williams. Clark was a consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection last year, while Williams earned second-team honors from the league's coaches.

Northwestern's Mike Kafka also is on the list, which definitely qualifies as a bit of a stunner. Nothing against Kafka, who came up huge in the Wildcats' win against Minnesota last year, but he has been a backup for the past two seasons and started just two games in place of the injured C.J. Bacher in 2008. He certainly has the potential for a nice season, but it's a little odd seeing his name next to those of Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, Zac Robinson and Dan LeFevour.

Big East blogger Brian Bennett points out how Matt Grothe, South Florida's three-year starter at quarterback, was snubbed from the list. Can't argue with that claim.

Check out the full list of candidates.

The award will be announced in December, and a Big Ten player has never won it.