Davey O’Brien Award Announces 30-Player Preseason Watch List

Davey O’Brien Award Announces 30-Player Preseason Watch List

FORT WORTH, Texas (July 20, 2021) – The Davey O’Brien Foundation revealed the 2021 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award Watch List today, a group that includes 30 of the nation’s top returning college quarterbacks.

Compiled by a subset of the Davey O’Brien National Selection Committee, this year’s list was selected based on career player performance and expectations heading into the 2021 college football season. All nominees are required to have previously started at least one game at an NCAA Division I institution.

Twelve of the watch list members are previous Davey O’Brien Award semifinalists, including a trio of two-time semifinalists in Miami’s D’Eriq King (2018, 2020), Florida State’s McKenzie Milton (2017, 2018) and Iowa State’s Brock Purdy (2019, 2020). The other previous semifinalists are Utah’s Charlie Brewer (2019), Matt Corral of Ole Miss (2020), UCF’s Dillon Gabriel (2020), Sam Howell of North Carolina (2020), Coastal Carolina’s Grayson McCall (2020), Tanner Morgan of Minnesota (2019), Indiana’s Michael Penix Jr. (2020), Spencer Rattler of Oklahoma (2020) and Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder (2020).

The other watch list honorees are: Connor Bazelak (Missouri), Malik Cunningham (Louisville), Dustin Crum (Kent State), Jayden Daniels (Arizona State), JT Daniels (Georgia), Max Duggan (TCU), Frank Harris (UTSA), Phil Jurkovec (Boston College), Levi Lewis (Louisiana), Graham Mertz (Wisconsin), Spencer Sanders (Oklahoma State), Kedon Slovis, (USC), Nick Starkel (San Jose State), Carson Strong (Nevada), Dorian Thompson-Robinson (UCLA), D.J. Uiagalelei (Clemson), Grant Wells (Marshall) and Malik Willis (Liberty).

The Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award is presented annually to the nation’s best college quarterback and is the oldest and most prestigious national quarterback award. Appearing on the preseason watch list is not a requirement for a player to win the award.

For the second straight year, players honored as weekly Davey O’Brien Great 8 recipients, as well as any additional quarterbacks approved by the selection subcommittee, will be added to form the official Davey O’Brien Midseason Watch list on Monday, Oct. 18. The Davey O’Brien QB Class of 2021 will be announced on Monday, Oct. 25.

Sixteen semifinalists selected from the QB Class of 2021 list will be named on Monday, Nov. 8. The Foundation will announce the three finalists two weeks later (Monday, Nov. 22). The 2021 Davey O’Brien Award winner will be unveiled live on ESPN on Thursday, Dec. 9, during The Home Depot College Football Awards. Fan voting on social media will again play a role in the semifinalist, finalist and winner voting totals when combined with the national selection committee’s ballots.

The 45th Annual Davey O’Brien Awards Dinner is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 21, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas.


2021 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award Watch List

Connor Bazelak, Missouri, So., 6-3, 212, Dayton, Ohio

Charlie Brewer, Utah, Sr., 6-1, 210, Austin, Texas

Matt Corral, Ole Miss, Jr., 6-1, 205, Ventura, Calif.

Malik Cunningham, Louisville, Jr., 6-1, 200, Montgomery, Ala.

Dustin Crum, Kent State, Sr., 6-3, 207, Grafton, Ohio

Jayden Daniels, Arizona State, So., 6-3, 185, San Bernardino, Calif.

JT Daniels, Georgia, Jr., 6-3, 210, Irvine, Calif.

Max Duggan, TCU, Jr., 6-2, 201, Council Bluffs, Iowa

Dillon Gabriel, UCF, Jr., 6-0, 200, Mililani, Hawaii

Frank Harris, UTSA, Sr., 6-0, 200, Schertz, Texas

Sam Howell, North Carolina, Jr., 6-1, 220, Indian Trail, N.C.

Phil Jurkovec, Boston College, Jr., 6-5, 226, Pittsburgh, Penn.

D’Eriq King, Miami, Sr., 5-11, 195, Manvel, Texas

Levi Lewis, Louisiana, Sr., 5-10, 184, Baton Rouge, La.

Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina, So., 6-3, 210, Indian Trail, N.C.

Graham Mertz, Wisconsin, So., 6-3, 225, Overland Park, Kan.

McKenzie Milton, Florida State, Sr., 5-11, 192, Kapolei, Hawaii

Tanner Morgan, Minnesota, Sr., 6-2, 215, Union, Ky.

Michael Penix Jr., Indiana, Jr., 6-3, 218, Tampa, Fla.

Brock Purdy, Iowa State, Sr., 6-1, 220, Gilbert, Ariz.

Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma, So., 6-1, 200, Phoenix, Ariz.

Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati, Sr., 6-4, 215, Louisville, Ky.

Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State, Jr., 6-1, 205, Denton, Texas

Kedon Slovis, USC, Jr., 6-3, 215, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Nick Starkel, San Jose State, Sr., 6-3, 214, Argyle, Texas

Carson Strong, Nevada, Jr., 6-4, 215, Vacaville, Calif.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA, Sr., 6-1, 200, Las Vegas, Nev.

D.J. Uiagalelei, Clemson, So, 6-4, 250, Inland Empire, Calif.

Grant Wells, Marshall, R-Fr., 6-2, 210, Charleston, W.Va.

Malik Willis, Liberty, Jr., 6-1, 215, Atlanta, Ga.


By Conference: ACC (6), Big 12 (4), Pac-12 (4), Big Ten (3), SEC (3), American (2), C-USA (2), Mountain West (2), Sun Belt (2), Mid-American (1), Independents (1).

By Class: Senior (11), Junior (12), Sophomore (6), Redshirt Freshman (1).


About the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award

The Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award is presented annually to the nation’s best college quarterback and is the oldest and most prestigious national quarterback award. The Davey O’Brien Award honors candidates who exemplify Davey O’Brien’s enduring character while exhibiting teamwork, sportsmanship and leadership in both academics and athletics. Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, the Davey O’Brien Foundation has awarded more than $1.2 million 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 www.DaveyOBrien.org.

Previous Davey O’Brien Award 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), Deshaun Watson (Clemson, 2015-16), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma, 2017), Kyler Murray (Oklahoma, 2018), Joe Burrow (LSU, 2019) and Mac Jones (Alabama, 2020).


About the National College Football Awards Association

The Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about the association.


The members of the NCFAA are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a two-week period this month. Sixteen of the association’s awards select a preseason watch list and the NCFAA has spearheaded a coordinated effort to promote each award’s preseason candidates. Following is the complete 2021 preseason watch list calendar:

Mon., July 19: Bednarik Award, Maxwell Award
Tue., July 20: Davey O’Brien Award
Wed., July 21: Doak Walker Award
Thu., July 22: Biletnikoff Award
Fri., July 23: John Mackey Award, Rimington Trophy
Mon., July 26: Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, Butkus Award
Tue., July 27: Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Outland Trophy
Wed., July 28: Lou Groza Award, Ray Guy Award
Thu., July 29: Paul Hornung Award, Wuerffel Trophy
Fri., July 30: Walter Camp Award


American Airlines is the official travel partner of the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award.


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