The O'Brien Award is presented to the best quarterback in the Football Bowl Subdivision based on both on the field and off the field accomplishments. Voters are expected to evaluate quarterbacking ability along with leadership, sportsmanship and academics.
The Watch List was selected by a National Selection Committeee and approved by the O'Brien Executive Committee. Semifinalists will be announced on Oct. 27 with finalists announced a month later on Nov. 24.
Jimmy Clausen started nine of the 10 games that he played in 2007, completing 138 of his 245 passes (56.3%) for 1,254 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions. Clausen is one of only two sophomores on the list along with redshirt sophomore Sam Bradford of Oklahoma.
Clausen started the season's second game after coming on late in the opener against Georgia Tech. It was the quickest a freshman had started for the Irish since freshmen became eligible in 1972.
Clausen was limited in the offseason after a procedure on his elbow, but still managed to have a productive freshman season.
Despite the injury issues, Clausen's freshman season ranked second only behind Brady Quinn's 2003 season in many respects. Clausen trailed only Quinn in completions (138 to 157), attempts (245 to 332) and yards (1,254 to 1,831). His completion percentage was behind only Matt LoVecchio's in 2000 (58.4%).
Clausen started five straight games before sitting out losses to USC and Navy with an injury. He returned for a loss against Air Force in the following game, but won the last two games of the season against Duke and Stanford.
Clausen clearly improved as he got healthier and more experienced. 949 of his passing yards and all six touchdown tosses came in his final six games.
The award will be presented at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 11 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Other names on the Watch List include Fresno State's Tom Brandstater, Hunter Cantwell of Louisville, Rudy Carpenter of Arizona State, Chase Clement of Rice, Missouri's Chase Daniel, Sean Glennon of Virginia Tech, Matt Grothe of South Florida, BYU's Max Hall, Clemson's Cullen Harper, Graham Harrell of Texas Tech, Chase Holbrook of New Mexico State, Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour , Colt McCoy of Texas, Todd Reesing of Kansas, Riley Skinner of Wake Forest, Florida Atlantic's Rusty Smith, Matthew Stafford of Georgia, Mike Teel of Rutgers, Arizona's Willie Tuitama, Drew Weatherford of Florida State, West Virginia's Pat White, Juice Williams of Illinois and Alabama's John Parker Wilson.
"The Davey O'Brien Foundation was founded in 1977 and has given away over $750,000 in scholarships and university grants to help high school and college athletes transform leadership on the field into leadership in life."