Four and Counting

Junior QB Jimmy Clausen joins a growing list of Irish stars to receive national pre-season recognition.

The list stands at four and the number of Notre Dame players nominated for individual awards should double by mid-season. In April, special teams gunner Mike Anello was named to the nation's 42-man Lott Trophy watch list. Named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, the Lott Trophy is awarded to college football's Defensive IMPACT (Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community, Tenacity) player on and off the field.

Then in May, senior center Dan Wenger was named to the 44-man Rimington Watch List (the award is named for former Nebraska center Dave Rimington and honors the center with the most first team All-America votes at season's end). And last week, tight end Kyle Rudolph was the only underclassmen listed on the Mackey Award (given annually to the best collegiate tight end) 30-man watch list.

Add a fourth player, junior QB Jimmy Clausen, to the increasing number of Irish players receiving national recognition as Clausen was named to the 2009 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award® Watch List for the second straight season. The O'Brien Selection Committee evaluates each candidate on the criteria of quarterback skills and athletic ability, academics, reputation as a team player, character, leadership and sportsmanship.

In 2008, Clausen started 13 games, completing 268 of 440 pass attempts, for 3,172 passing yards and 25 touchdowns (with 17 interceptions). He finished his sophomore season with one of the greatest statistical performances in team history, a 22 for 26, 401-yard, five touchdown passing effort against Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

The 2009 O'Brien Award Watch List features 33 preliminary candidates though every Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) starting quarterback is eligible to win the award at season's end.

Semifinalists will be announced October 26 and finalists on November 23. The winner will be announced December 10 during The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN. Oklahoma sophomore Sam Bradford won the award in 2008.

2009 O'Brien Watch List

The Irish defense will face three teams with a quarterback on the pre-season O'Brien list, all in South Bend, including Nevada junior Colin Kaepernick in the season opener; Washington junior Jake Locker on October 3; and USC sophomore Aaron Corp on October 17.

About the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award® The Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award (The O'Brien) honors the nation's best college quarterback of the year and inspires student-athletes to triumph both on and off the field. Founded in 1981, The O'Brien seeks to honor candidates who exemplify Davey O'Brien's enduring character while exhibiting teamwork, sportsmanship, leadership and character in both the athletic and academic arenas. Honorees are voted on by a national selection committee comprised of journalists, broadcasters, commentators and former winners. The O'Brien is overseen by the Davey O'Brien Foundation, which was founded in 1977 and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. The Foundation has given away more than $790,000 in scholarships and university grants to help high school and college athletes transform leadership on the field into leadership in life. For more information, visit Top Stories