08/09/2011 5:37 PM -

TULSA – Jacksonville Sharks QB AARON GARCIA (6-1, 195, Sacramento State) has been named the 2011 Russell Offensive Player of the Year, the League Office announced today. The award comes to Garcia just one day after the Sharks were crowned American Conference Champions, earning a trip to ArenaBowl XXIV in Phoenix, AZ.

This is the second time in his career Garcia has won the award. He also earned Player of the Year honors in 2001 as a member of the New York Dragons. He is the first player in Jacksonville franchise history to win the award and the second consecutive quarterback to earn the honor.

Garcia put together perhaps the finest season in his 17-year career in 2011, setting single-season franchise records by passing for career-highs in completions (402), yards (4,953) and touchdowns (116).

Arena Football’s all-time passing leader closed in on 50,000 passing yards for his career, ending the regular season at 49,996-yards. He eclipsed several other milestones in 2011 as well. In Week 8 against the Orlando Predators, Garcia tossed a professional football record of 1,000-career touchdown passes. In Week 16 against the Tampa Bay Storm, he became the AFL’s all-time completions leader with his 3,887th completed pass and set a new franchise record with nine touchdown passes in the game.

Garcia led the League in completion percentage (71.5) and yards per attempt (8.8) and ranked second in passing efficiency (125.4), passing yards (4,953) and passing touchdowns (116). He led the Sharks to an AFL-record of 13 consecutive victories, an 8-1 record at home, an undefeated season against conference opponents and a second consecutive South Division Championship this year. Garcia will play in his first ArenaBowl on Friday, August 12.

Other candidates for the Russell Offensive Player of the Year award included: Arizona Rattlers QB NICK DAVILA, who tied the AFL-record for passing touchdowns in a season with 117 and led the League in passing efficiency with a mark of 127.6; and Georgia Force WR MAURICE PURIFY, who had multiple touchdown receptions in nine consecutive games and ranked in the top ten in the League in receiving touchdowns (46), receptions (130) and receiving yards (1,653).