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Fans Get to Help Decide Who Will be the Next C Spire Conerly Trophy Winner Honoring Mississippi’s Top College Cootball Player of the Year

For second year in a row, fans will influence 10 percent of the award total; sparking renewed excitement, interest and engagement with their favorite players and schools

Jackson, Miss. - (October 30, 2014) – With two Mississippi teams at the top of the nation’s college football playoff rankings and Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott leading most Heisman Trophy polls, fan interest has never been higher in the C Spire Conerly Trophy, which annually honors the top player in the Magnolia state.

While Mississippi State, Ole Miss and the eight other teams will determine their ultimate fate on the gridiron over the next month, college football fans will help influence who gets the best player honors. For the second time in the award’s history, fan voting will count for 10 percent of the 2014 Conerly Trophy and a panel of statewide media will make up the remaining 90 percent.

“There’s never been a better time to give fans the opportunity to take part in identifying Mississippi’s best college football player, especially with two of the teams having their best seasons in school history,” said Rick Cleveland, executive director of the MSHOF and co-sponsor of the award along with C Spire. “Major League baseball and other sports have used fan voting for years. We think involving fans will help sustain interest in an award that’s an integral part of the college football scene.”

The C Spire Conerly Trophy will be awarded Dec. 2 at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Among past winners were such prominent future NFL standouts as Deuce McAllister, Eli Manning, Jerious Norwood, Michael Boley, Patrick Willis, Anthony Dixon and many others. Earlier this year, McAllister, the leading rusher and touchdown scorer in Ole Miss and New Orleans Saints history, was the first C Spire Conerly winner to enter the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

"Football fans across Mississippi are very passionate about their schools and the star players in their respective programs, especially with the success of some teams this year. We are excited to give fans the ability once again to help influence who wins the C Spire Conerly Trophy,” said Jim Richmond, vice president of Corporate Communications for C Spire.

Each of the 10 four-year football-playing schools in Mississippi will choose its own finalist for the award. Those nominees will be announced on Nov. 24. Fan voting will begin on Nov. 25 at 8 a.m. and conclude on Dec. 1 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. Fans may submit up to three votes per day during the voting period; however, only one entry is allowed per day for each of the social media methods. For entry rules and qualifications on fan voting, go to www.cspire.com/conerly beginning on Nov. 25.

The C Spire Conerly Trophy banquet will be held Dec. 2 at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. A 5:30 p.m. reception will be followed by the 6:30 p.m. dinner program. Coaches and finalists from all the schools are expected to attend. For ticket availability, call 601.982.8264.

Now in its 19th year, the Conerly Trophy presented by C Spire is named after the late Charlie Conerly – the only football inductee in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame who was an All-American at a Mississippi university, an NFL rookie of the year and NFL All-Pro member and quarterbacked a team to a world championship. C Spire has sponsored the outstanding player awards program for all major college sports in Mississippi since 1998.