The 18 semifinalists, in alphabetical order, are: J.T. Barrett (Ohio State), Jake Browning (Washington), Sam Darnold (USC), Jerod Evans (Virginia Tech), Luke Falk (Washington State), Jalen Hurts (Alabama), Chad Kelly (Ole Miss), Lamar Jackson (Louisville), Trevor Knight (Texas A&M), Patrick Mahomes II (Texas Tech), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State), Wilton Speight (Michigan), Zach Terrell (Western Michigan), Mitch Trubisky (North Carolina), Greg Ward Jr. (Houston), Deshaun Watson (Clemson) and Davis Webb (California).
For the second straight year, more than 16 names appear on the semifinalist list, however, only 16 will be eligible to win the Davey O’Brien Award. Kelly and Knight were voted into the semifinalist group, but will miss the remainder of the season because of injury. Foundation guidelines allow for an injured player to be honored as a semifinalist and the quarterback with the next highest vote total also included.
Several quarterbacks with strong ties to the award are among the honorees. Watson was the 2015 Davey O’Brien Award winner, while Mayfield was a finalist a year ago. In addition to those two players, Falk, Mahomes and Ward are semifinalists for the second consecutive year.
Of the nominees, 10 were named to the preseason watch list in July. In addition, 17 members of the group combined to earn Davey O’Brien “Great 8” weekly honors a total of 53 times this season. Seven went on to collect National Quarterback of the Week accolades from the Davey O’Brien Foundation.
The collection of semifinalists is comprised of five seniors, nine juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen. Also of note, eight players hail from the state of Texas.
Schools from seven conference affiliations (American, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, MAC, Pac-12 and SEC) make up the list. Five leagues have multiple honorees, led by the ACC and Pac-12 with four apiece. The Big 12 and SEC both have three.
The 18 teams represented own a combined record of 128-34 (.790) this season. Five universities represented-Clemson, Houston, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Texas A&M-are home to previous Davey O’Brien Award winners.
The Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award is presented annually to the best college quarterback, and is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious national quarterback award.
The Davey O’Brien Fan Vote counts as five percent during each round of the voting process, and is combined with the results from the foundation’s national selection committee, which is comprised of journalists, broadcasters, commentators and former winners.
After clearing the first round totals, the fan vote at VoteOBrien.org will reopen today and remain open until noon (CT) on Sunday, Nov. 22, for the second round of balloting. Fans are invited to cast their vote for the nation’s best college quarterback as often as once daily per email address.
Previous winners include: Jim McMahon (BYU, 1981), Todd Blackledge (Penn State, 1982), Steve Young (BYU, 1983), Doug Flutie (Boston College, 1984), Chuck Long (Iowa, 1985), Vinny Testaverde (Miami, 1986), Don McPherson (Syracuse, 1987), Troy Aikman (UCLA, 1988), Andre Ware (Houston, 1989), Ty Detmer (BYU, 1990-91), Gino Torretta (Miami, 1992), Charlie Ward (Florida State, 1993), Kerry Collins (Penn State, 1994), Danny Wuerffel (Florida, 1995-96), Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997), Michael Bishop (Kansas State, 1998), Joe Hamilton (Georgia Tech, 1999), Chris Weinke (Florida State, 2000), Eric Crouch (Nebraska, 2001), Brad Banks (Iowa, 2002), Jason White (Oklahoma, 2003-04), Vince Young (Texas, 2005), Troy Smith (Ohio State, 2006), Tim Tebow (Florida, 2007), Sam Bradford (Oklahoma, 2008), Colt McCoy (Texas, 2009), Cam Newton (Auburn, 2010), Robert Griffin III (Baylor, 2011), Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M, 2012), Jameis Winston (Florida State, 2013), Marcus Mariota (Oregon, 2014) and Watson (Clemson, 2015).