White Voted Alabama Athlete of the Year

DAPHNE, Alabama - West Virginia University quarterback Patrick White was named United States Sports Academy Alabama Athlete of the Year today after an online fan vote presented by al.com.

"This is a wonderful honor to receive from the United States Sports Academy," said White from his home in Daphne, Alabama during the holiday break. "There are a lot of great athletes that have competed in the state of Alabama and I am grateful and thankful to receive this award."

The Alabama Athlete of the Year award is given to an athlete beyond the high school level who was either born in, is currently playing in or has previously participated in sports at any level within the state of Alabama. The Academy Alabama Athlete of the Year ballot is the culmination of the Academy's yearlong Alabama Athlete of the Month program, which recognizes the accomplishments of men and women in any sport in the state of Alabama.

White, a sophomore from Daphne, Alabama, was named Big East Conference Offensive Player of the Year after finishing the season with 1,074 yards rushing (25th in NCAA history among quarterbacks) and 1,524 yards passing. He holds the Big East record for career rushing yards for a quarterback. He is the ninth quarterback ever to rush and pass for more than 200 yards in a game. White recently led West Virginia to a win in the Gator Bowl over Georgia Tech. He was 9-of-15 for 131 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 22 times for 145 yards and a score.

Shaun Alexander, a seven-year veteran running back with the Seattle Seahawks who played college football at the University of Alabama, came in second. Alexander started 2006 with a 132-yard rushing performance as the Seattle Seahawks clinched the franchises first-ever Super Bowl appearance with a 34-14 victory over the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship Game. The reigning NFL MVP missed six weeks of the 2006 season with an injury, but rebounded to rush for 201 yards on 40 carries in a 34-24 victory over the Green Bay Packers during his second game back.

In third place, JaMarcus Russell, a junior quarterback with Louisiana State University who hails from Mobile, Ala. was awarded for leading LSU to the Sugar Bowl. Russell finished the regular season 211-of-308 for 2,797 yards passing, 26 touchdowns and seven interceptions for a quarterback rating of 168.10.

Past winners include Vonetta Flowers, Cornelius Bennett, Shaun Alexander, Charles Barkley, Davey Allison and Tim Hudson. For a complete list, please visit http://www.asama.org/awards/Athletes/alabamaAward.asp.

The 2006 ballot also included Auburn University women's swimmer Adrienne Bender, Auburn softball player Holly Currie, former University of South Alabama baseball player Luis Gonzalez, University of Mobile softball player Linden Jones, former Auburn football player Marcus McNeill, Alabama gymnast Ashley Miles, Auburn women's swimmer Hayley Peirsol, South Alabama track star Vincent Rono and Alabama basketball star Ronald Steele.

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