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Davey O'Brien Award Watch List 2014: Full List and Bleacher Report Favorites

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Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2014

The watch list for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award was released Wednesday, consisting of 39 players from all 11 FBS football conferences (Independents included).

Among the included players are last year's recipient and five other returning semifinalists. Despite numerous attempts, no player has won the award twice since Oklahoma's Jason White in 2003-04.

Here is the full 2014 watch list:

2014 Davey O'Brien Award Watch List
PlayerClassSchoolConference
Anthony BooneSeniorDukeACC
Terrance BroadwaySeniorUL-LafayetteSun Belt
Shane CardenSeniorEast CarolinaC-USA
Rakeem CatoSeniorMarshallC-USA
Connor CookJuniorMichigan StateBig Ten
Jeff DriskelJuniorFloridaSEC
Cody FajardoSeniorNevadaMWC
Devin GardnerSeniorMichiganBig Ten
Jared GoffSophomoreCaliforniaPac-12
Everett GolsonJuniorNotre DameIndependent
Garrett GraysonSeniorColorado St.MWC
Christian HackenbergSophomorePenn St.Big Ten
Connor HallidaySeniorWashington St.Pac-12
Grant HedrickSeniorBoise St.MWC
Taylor HeinickeSeniorOld DominionC-USA
Taysom HillSeniorBYUIndependent
Kevin HoganSeniorStanfordPac-12
Brett HundleyJuniorUCLAPac-12
Matt JohnsonJuniorBowling GreenMAC
Chuckie KeetonSeniorUtah St.MWC
Taylor KellySeniorArizona St.Pac-12
Cody KesslerJuniorUSCPac-12
Trevor KnightSophomoreOklahomaBig 12
Sean MannionSeniorOregon St.Pac-12
Marcus MariotaJuniorOregonPac-12
Nick MarshallSeniorAuburnSEC
Hutson MasonSeniorGeorgiaSEC
Braxton MillerSeniorOhio St.Big Ten
John O'KornSophomoreHoustonAAC
Bryce PettySeniorBaylorBig 12
Dak PrescottJuniorMississippi St.SEC
Keenan ReynoldsJuniorNavyIndependent
Joel StaveJuniorWisconsinBig Ten
P.J. WalkerSophomoreTempleAAC
Bo WallaceSeniorOle MissSEC
J.W. WalshJuniorOklahoma St.Big 12
Jake WatersSeniorKansas St.Big 12
Davis WebbSophomoreTexas TechBig 12
Jameis WinstonSophomoreFlorida St.ACC
Source: Daveyobrien.org

Need some favorites to look out for?

Here are five guys who stick out as particularly good candidates, along with one looming sleeper and some other names to watch.

 

Jameis Winston, Florida State

TALLAHASSEE, FL - APRIL 12:  Jameis Winston #5 of the Garnet team reacts to a pass against the Gold team during Florida State's Garnet and Gold spring game at Doak Campbell Stadium on April 12, 2014 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty I
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Like a title belt in boxing, the Davey O'Brien Award (and Heisman Trophy) belongs to Jameis Winston until someone comes and takes it from him. He is the rightful favorite to repeat in 2014.

Kelvin Benjamin and Kenny Shaw are gone, but three-time leading receiver Rashad Greene returns alongside a deep group of talented (albeit unproven) playmakers. Keep an eye on true freshmen Ermon Lane and Travis Rudolph to emerge during fall camp.

 

Marcus Mariota, Oregon/Braxton Miller, Ohio State

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 07:  Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes throws a pass before the Big Ten Championship against the Michigan State Spartans at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Lumped together because they were both finalists for the award in 2012, Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Ohio State's Braxton Miller are favorites to compete for the Davey O'Brien once again in 2014.

Both are losing a number of their top weapons—whether it be backfield mates or receiving targets—this season, but as dual-threat quarterbacks on teams projected to compete for a spot in the College Football Playoff, it is hard to find a pair of more qualified candidates.

 

Brett Hundley, UCLA

Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

Speaking of dual-threat quarterbacks expected to compete for a spot in the playoff, UCLA junior Brett Hundley has been good—and borderline great—these past two seasons despite never really getting a fair shake. The offensive line has crumbled due to injuries in front of him, and the playmakers have been so-so at best.

This year, Hundley should have the best supporting cast he's had in this three years as a starter. He should also have a defense capable of winning the Pac-12 and competing for a national title. Combined with Hundley's talent, that is the recipe for an award winner.

 

Bryce Petty, Baylor

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 30:  Bryce Petty #14 of the Baylor Bears celebrates a touchdown against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Baylor's offense continues to run in the post-Robert Griffin III era, and if last year was any indication, Bryce Petty has a chance to be every bit as good as the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner.

The Bears defense is a question mark once again—albeit not in the same way it has been in recent years—and the stable of playmakers around Petty, led by senior receiver Antwan Goodley, is amenable to a huge statistical season from the senior quarterback.

 

Sleeper: Davis Webb, Texas Tech

Dec 30, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Davis Webb (7) checks the Arizona State Sun Devils defense in the second half at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury made the news this offseason when he told Bruce Feldman of FoxSports.com that his quarterback, Davis Webb, a true sophomore who didn't even start in Week 1 last season, has the potential to become a top-five NFL draft pick.

Webb is 6'5" with an accurate arm and has been adding weight to a slender-ish frame this offseason. He also plays in a passing-heavy system with talented playmakers around him and a defense that will necessitate some shootouts to win games.

Webb finished No. 12 in ESPN's Total QBR metric last season.

 

Other Names to Watch: Taylor Kelly (Arizona State), Trevor Knight (Oklahoma), Nick Marshall (Auburn), Dak Prescott (Mississippi State).

 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT

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