The Davey O’Brien Foundation unveiled the 2016 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award Watch List today, a group that includes 30 of the nation’s top college quarterbacks.
Compiled by a subset of the Davey O’Brien National Selection Committee, this year’s list was selected based on player performance during the previous year and expectations heading into the 2016 college football season. All nominees are required to have previously started at least one game at their current institution.
Oklahoma State junior quarterback Mason Rudolph is a member of the watch list and is getting lots of award attention as he is also on the watch list for the Maxwell Award and the Danny Wuerffel Trophy, which is for on-field play and public service off the field. Rudolph is one of five quarterbacks from the Big 12 on the list, which ties the Big Ten for the most nominees. While nearly half the field is made up of seniors, he is one of just 11 juniors listed.
A Rock Hill, S.C., native, Rudolph has been nothing short of great during his first two years as a Cowboy, playing at a level that matches some of Oklahoma State's all-time best quarterbacks. The junior holds a 12-3 career record as a starter, with seven of those 12 wins coming away from home, and his 9.1 yards per completion over the span of his career is a school record. Last season, his 264 completions, 424 pass attempts, 3,770 passing yards, 290.0 passing yards per game and 287.3 yards of total offense per game trail only Brandon Weeden in 2010 and 2011 on Oklahoma State's single-season list. Rudolph surpassed 300 yards passing six times and 400 yards three times during his sophomore campaign and he received numerous weekly recognitions.
Additionally, Rudolph was named a Second Team Academic All-Big 12 honoree for his performance in the class room last year.
If Rudolph is going to win the prestigious award he will have to earn it over the reigning Davey O’Brien Award winner, Deshaun Watson of Clemson. The junior is bidding to become the award’s first two-time winner since Oklahoma’s Jason White (2003-04). In addition, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, one of three finalists a year ago, returns for his junior season.
Other contenders include five semifinalists from 2015 – Luke Falk (Washington State), Patrick Mahomes II (Texas Tech), Josh Rosen (UCLA), Seth Russell (Baylor) and Greg Ward Jr. (Houston) – as well as Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett, who was a semifinalist in 2014. Notable players named to the watch list for the second straight year include: Josh Dobbs of Tennessee, Miami’s Brad Kaaya, Anu Solomon of Arizona and Western Michigan’s Zach Terrell.
The remaining members of the watch list includes: Tommy Armstrong Jr. (Nebraska), C.J. Beathard (Iowa), Jake Browning (Washington), Dane Evans (Tulsa), Quinton Flowers (USF), Skyler Howard (West Virginia), Chad Kelly (Ole Miss), DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame), Taylor Lamb (Appalachian State), Mitch Leidner (Minnesota), Wes Lunt (Illinois), Nick Mullens (Southern Miss), Cooper Rush (Central Michigan), Brett Rypien (Boise State), Brent Stockstill (Middle Tennessee) and Phillip Walker (Temple).
Nearly half (14) of the players on the watch list are seniors, while 11 juniors and five sophomores round out the contingent. Among leagues, the Big 12 Conference and Big Ten Conference lead the way with five nominees each, followed by the Pac-12 Conference and American Athletic Conference with four apiece.
Appearing on the Watch List is not a requirement for a player to win the Davey O’Brien Award.
Quarterbacks from all 128 NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools are eligible for the award.
Sixteen semifinalists for the award will be named on Thursday, Nov. 10. From that list, the Foundation and the Selection Committee will announce the three finalists on Tuesday, Nov. 22. The 2016 Davey O’Brien Award winner will be announced live Thursday, Dec. 8 on The Home Depot College Football Awards.
The 2016 season marks the 10th year that fans will be invited to participate in the voting process on voteobrien.org. Results from the Davey O’Brien Fan Vote will be combined with the ballots from the Selection Committee. Fan voting, which accounts for five percent of the total balloting, will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 6.
The 40th Annual Davey O’Brien Awards Dinner will be held Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, in Fort Worth, Texas.
2016 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award Watch List
Tommy Armstrong Jr. (Nebraska, Sr., Cibolo, Texas)
J.T. Barrett (Ohio State, Jr., Wichita Falls, Texas)
C.J. Beathard (Iowa, Sr., Franklin, Tenn.)
Jake Browning (Washington, So., Granite Bay, Calif.)
Joshua Dobbs (Tennessee, Sr., Alpharetta, Ga.)
Dane Evans (Tulsa, Sr., Sanger, Texas)
Luke Falk (Washington State, Jr., Logan, Utah)
Quinton Flowers (USF, Jr., Miami, Fla.)
Skyler Howard (West Virginia, Sr., Fort Worth, Texas)
Brad Kaaya (Miami, Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.)
Chad Kelly (Ole Miss, Sr., Buffalo, N.Y.)
DeShone Kizer* (Notre Dame, Jr., Toledo, Ohio)
Taylor Lamb (Appalachian State, Jr., Calhoun, Ga.)
Mitch Leidner (Minnesota, Sr., Lakeville, Minn.)
Wes Lunt (Illinois, Sr., Rochester, Ill.)
Patrick Mahomes II (Texas Tech, Jr., Whitehouse, Texas)
Tanner Mangum* (BYU, So., Eagle, Idaho)
Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma, Jr., Austin, Texas)
Nick Mullens (Southern Miss, Sr., Hoover, Ala.)
Josh Rosen (UCLA, So., Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State, Jr., Rock Hill, S.C.)
Cooper Rush (Central Michigan, Sr., Charlotte, Mich.)
Seth Russell (Baylor, Sr., Garland, Texas)
Brett Rypien (Boise State, So., Spokane, Wash.)
Anu Solomon (Arizona, Jr., Las Vegas, Nev.)
Brent Stockstill (Middle Tennessee, So., Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
Zach Terrell (Western Michigan, Sr., Fort Wayne, Ind.)
Phillip Walker (Temple, Sr., Elizabeth, N.J.)
Greg Ward Jr. (Houston, Sr., Tyler, Texas)
Deshaun Watson (Clemson, Jr., Gainesville, Ga.)