FORT WORTH, Texas – A sold-out crowd celebrated the Davey O’Brien Foundation’s 2018 award winners Monday night at the 42nd Annual Davey O’Brien Awards Dinner at The Fort Worth Club. The evening’s honorees included National Quarterback Award winner Kyler Murray, Legends Award honoree Jim Plunkett, High School Scholarship recipient Hannah Mandell and Charles Ringler Founder’s Award honoree David O’Brien Jr. representing the O’Brien Family.
Prior to the dinner, Murray and Plunkett made the rounds with Fort Worth/Dallas media members. In addition to the press conference with the award winners, both made appearances on 1310 The Ticket’s afternoon show “The Hardline” with Mike Rhyner and Corby Davidson. Murray and Plunkett also sat for media roundtables with members of the Associated Press, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Morning News and PressBox DFW.
The Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award was first issued in 1981. On Monday, Murray became the NCAA-best fourth Sooners player ever to formally accept the nation’s oldest and most prestigious quarterback trophy, joining Jason White (2003-04), Sam Bradford (2008) and Baker Mayfield (2017). He is the ninth quarterback winner from O’Brien’s home state of Texas.
In 2018, Murray was 260-for-377 (.690) passing for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,001 yards (7.2 yards per carry) and 12 scores. He became just the second quarterback in NCAA history to pass for 4,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season, joining two-time Davey O’Brien Award winner Deshaun Watson.
Murray led the nation in total quarterback rating (95.8), total offense (383.0), yards per completion (16.8) and yards per pass attempt (11.6), and was tied for first in points responsible for (324). He also ranked among the NCAA’s leaders in passing efficiency (2nd, 199.2), passing touchdowns (3rd, 42), passing yards (3rd, 4,361) and completion percentage (6th, .690).
Plunkett, a member of the 1990 College Football Hall of Fame class, claimed the 2018 Davey O’Brien Legends Award given to a former quarterback for his efforts on and off the field. Plunkett is one of just four players ever to win the Heisman Trophy and be named Super Bowl Most Valuable Player. The others include inaugural Davey O’Brien Legends Award recipient Roger Staubach, as well as Marcus Allen and Desmond Howard.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 1971 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, Plunkett played in the National Football League for 16 seasons with the Patriots (1971-75), San Francisco 49ers (1976-77) and Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders (1978-86) and passed for more than 25,000 yards and totaled 164 touchdowns. He directed the Raiders to a pair of Super Bowl victories (XV, XVIII), and was the first minority quarterback ever to win the Super Bowl.
Collegiately, Plunkett starred three years (1968-70) at Stanford. In 1970, he won the Heisman Trophy, Walter Camp Award and Maxwell Award in the same season, an achievement he shares with O’Brien, who took home all three honors in 1938. Plunkett, the first Latino player ever to win the Heisman Trophy, also was a consensus All-American and the UPI Player of the Year as a senior.
Mandell, the first-ever Davey O’Brien High School Scholarship winner from Justin Wakeland High School in Frisco, is a National AP Scholar and AP Scholar with Distinction. She ranks seventh out of 496 students in her class with a 5.423 GPA on a 5.0 scale while participating in soccer, cross country and track.
In soccer, she was an all-state midfielder and helped the team to the UIL Class 5A state championship in 2018. She was named the District 13-5A Midfield MVP as a junior and senior and was a three-time all-district performer (2016-18). Mandell also qualified for state in track and cross country, and earned all-region, academic all-region, all-district and academic all-district honors in both sports.
Off the field, she serves as senior class president as well as the president of the Mu Alpha Theta math honor society. She also is a member of the principal’s advisory council and the National Honor Society, is a student ambassador, and was the school’s Homecoming queen.
The Foundation also honored the O’Brien Family, whose name has been synonymous with high character and achievement in both the football and Fort Worth communities for the past eight decades.
The O’Brien Family began serving the Foundation at its inception in 1977, and has championed the Foundation that bears the family’s name since that time. Through the O’Brien’s unwavering efforts, steadfast commitment and strategic vision, the Foundation has grown in national prominence and is well positioned for future success.
Being honored with the award were Davey’s three children, David Jr., Bill and Sally, as well as their spouses and children.
Four former Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award winners were in attendance: Jim McMahon (BYU, 1981), Ty Detmer (BYU, 1990-91), Eric Crouch (Nebraska, 2001) and Brad Banks (Iowa, 2002).
The awards are overseen by the Davey O’Brien Foundation, which is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. The Foundation has given away more than $1 million in scholarships and university grants to help high school and college athletes transform leadership on the field into leadership in life since its founding in 1977.