FORT WORTH, Texas – The Davey O’Brien Foundation unveiled the 2016 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award Watch List Thursday, naming BYU sophomore quarterback Tanner Mangum to the list as one of the nation’s top 30 college quarterbacks.
Mangum finished the 2015 season with 3,377 passing yards and 23 touchdowns, setting new school records for a freshman quarterback. He was also named the 2015 Freshman of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus.
BYU quarterbacks have won the Davey O’Brien Award four times, more than any other school. Jim McMahon won in 1981, the first year it was a quarterback specific award and Steve Young won it in 1983. Current BYU offensive coordinator Ty Detmer is one of three quarterbacks to win the award twice, winning it 1990 and 1991.
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. In cases where multiple quarterbacks from the same school received consideration and the school has not yet named a starter for the upcoming season, the player who finished the last year as the school’s starting quarterback is named to the watch list
The reigning Davey O’Brien Award winner, Deshaun Watson of Clemson, headlines the list. 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 include: 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), Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State), 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 www.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.