Christian Ponder was one of 30 quarterbacks selected, based on his performance during the 2009 season and expectations heading into the 2010 campaign.
The O'Brien is presented annually to the nation's best college quarterback and is the oldest and most prestigious national quarterback award. It honors candidates who exemplify the late TCU All-American quarterback Davey O'Brien's enduring character while exhibiting teamwork, sportsmanship and leadership in both academics and athletics.
"It's definitely an honor to be thought of as one of the top quarterbacks," said Ponder, who failed to make the O'Brien list in 2009 despite guiding the Seminoles to nine wins in 2008. "A whole year of hard work has paid off. It's cool to get the recognition. I'm excited to get the season started and see where I stack up against the other O'Brien Award candidates."
Ponder, who ranked among the nation's top quarterbacks before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in the ninth game, finished the 2009 campaign with 2,717 passing yards, completing 68.8 percent of his pass attempts. His pass efficiency rating of (147.71) ranked among the top six nationally at the time of his injury and his ACC-leading 321.8 yards per game is the sixth-best total offense figure in league history.
A native of Colleyville, Texas, Ponder hopes to join former FSU quarterbacks Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke, who won O'Brien in 1993 and 2000, respectively.
He will compete with a stout list of candidates, including 2009 O'Brien finalist Case Keenum (Sr., Houston) and five semifinalists for last year's award, including: Matt Barkley (Jr., USC), Jacory Harris (Jr., Miami), Jake Locker (Sr., Washington), Kellen Moore (Jr., Boise State) and Ricky Stanzi (Sr., Iowa).
Ponder has already been selected to 2010 watch list for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is bestowed upon the nation's top senior quarterback. He was a semifinalist for the Maxwell and Manning awards and a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy last season. A consensus All-ACC selection in preseason publications, Ponder is ranked by several scouting services as the nation's No. 2 quarterback prospect for the 2011 NFL Draft.
Mentioned frequently as a Heisman Trophy candidate, Ponder's achievements on and off the field are well documented at www.cp7forheisman.com.
The 2010 O'Brien Watch List features 13 seniors, 13 juniors and four sophomores. The ACC and Big 12 lead all conferences with five candidates each on the list. The Pac-10 is represented by four players.
Appearing on the Watch List is not a requirement for a player to be awarded The O'Brien. Quarterbacks from all 120 NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools are eligible for the award until the field is narrowed to 16 semifinalists on Monday, Oct. 25. The Foundation and the Selection Committee will announce three finalists on Monday, Nov. 22. The 2010 winner will be announced on The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on Thursday, Dec. 9.
The 34th Annual O'Brien Awards Dinner will be held Feb. 21, 2011 at The Fort Worth Club in Fort Worth, Texas.