USC Football: Sam Darnold on 2017 Davey O’Brien Award watch list

TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 15: Quarterback Sam Darnold
TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 15: Quarterback Sam Darnold /

USC quarterback Sam Darnold was named to the 2017 watch list for the Davey O’Brien Award, honoring the nation’s top quarterback.

Another day, another watch list honor for USC quarterback Sam Darnold.

The Davey O’Brien National Selection Committee revealed their 2017 watch list on Wednesday, listing Darnold as a candidate for the award after he reached the semi-finalist stage in 2016.

Unlike other watch lists which feature hundreds of players, the O’Brien watch list is rather limited with just 30 quarterbacks making the cut. The watch list only features players who have started at least one game at their school.

This year, USC will face three of those including Texas’ Shane Buechele, Washington State’s Luke Falk and UCLA’s Josh Rosen. The Trojans could also see Washington’s Jake Browning in the Pac-12 championship game.

Darnold is considered one of the favorites for the award, along with half a dozen other honors like the Heisman Trophy, due to his stellar campaign in 2016 after taking over the starting job from Max Browne.

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Though he lost his first game as a starter, Darnold engineered a remarkable turnaround for the Trojans, leading them to nine-straight victories. His intangible playmaking ability paired with arm strength, accuracy and mobility helped the then-redshirt freshman best Colorado, Washington, UCLA and Notre Dame en route to an epic Rose Bowl victory to start out the 2017 calendar year.

Now a redshirt sophomore, expectations for Darnold at both the college and pro levels are as high as they could be.

USC has never had a quarterback win the O’Brien Award, but there have been more than a few Trojan finalists, including Matt Leinart, Carson Palmer, Todd Marinovich and Rodney Peete. Leinart and Peete were two-time finalists.

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There is a fan voting aspect to the award, with voting opening on September 5. The list of this year’s semifinalists will be announced on November 7. Finalists will be unveiled on November 20. Then the winner of the 2017 O’Brien Award will be revealed on December 7 during The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN.