It was announced Thursday that Graham Harrell was named the 2008 AT&T All-America Player of the Year, the only major college football award chosen exclusively by fans. Fans across the nation have made their voices heard and voted Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell as the best college football player in the nation. Receiving over 260,000 text votes, Harrell is the second Texas Tech player in a row to win the award; Michael Crabtree of TTU received the honors in 2007.
Harrell won AT&T's All-America Player of the Week four times this season, the most of any player this year. Harrell passed for 4,437 yards and threw for 41 touchdowns, two touchdowns within breaking the NCAA career record and had a passer rating of 163.03. He also rushed for six touchdowns and led the Red Raiders to their first 10-0 start in 70 years, beat a No. 1 team for the first time and led TTU to a school record of No. 2 in the polls. In the AT&T Cotton Bowl, Harrell completed 36 of 58 passes for 364 yards and four touchdowns in the Red Raiders' loss to Mississippi. Harrell finished his college career with an FBS-record 134 passing touchdowns. He received 54 percent of the votes to beat out an impressive field of nominees, including University of Texas quarterback Colt McCoy (20 percent), University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow (18 percent) and University of Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford (8 percent).
"AT&T congratulates Harrell on having a spectacular season and for winning the AT&T All-America Player of the Year award," said Tim McGhee, executive director of national sponsorships for AT&T's wireless unit. "We are proud to be able to deliver the technology that allows the fans voices to be heard so that they can honor the player that they choose. Our hats go off to the winner and the other nominees we are grateful to the fans who participated."
Fans determined the winner by sending a text message and casting their votes for the nominees. Polls stayed open until Tuesday, Jan. 6. In addition, each vote received an entry into a sweepstakes to win a trip to the 2010 BCS National Championship game in Pasadena, California.
Last year, Texas Tech freshman wide receiver Michael Crabtree was honored as the AT&T All-America Player of the Year, edging Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow of Florida, Arkansas' Darren McFadden and Virginia's Chris Long.
Harrell just signed on with an agent and is currently working out in Atlanta for the Senior Bowl and the NFL combine.