The Davey O’Brien Foundation unveiled the 2022 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award Preseason Watch List today, a group that includes 35 of the nation’s top returning college quarterbacks, including University of Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham.
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 2022 college football season. All nominees are required to have previously started at least one game at an NCAA Division I institution.
A fifth-year senior, Cunningham begins his fourth year as the UofL starting quarterback. Last season, Cunningham led the lead the ACC in rushing touchdowns with 20 and became only the second quarterback in school history to rush for over 1,000 yards. The native of Montgomery, Ala., accounted for 39 total touchdowns in 13 games as a starter.
He rushed for 1,031 yards, totaling three 100-yard games. He rushed for a career high 224 yards and a pair of touchdowns last season in a win over Duke and ran for 133 yards and three scores versus Boston College.
As a passer, Cunningham threw for 2,841 yards and 19 touchdowns, while completing 62.0 percent of his passes. He recorded two 300-yard games throwing for 309 yards at Wake Forest and 303 yards and five touchdowns on the road at Duke.
Headlining the group are 2021 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback winner Bryce Young of Alabama and 2021 finalist C.J. Stroud of Ohio State. In all, 12 of last year’s 16 semifinalists return. The group includes Young and Stroud, as well as Brennan Armstrong of Virginia, Georgia’s Stetson Bennett, Jake Haener of Fresno State, UTSA’s Frank Harris, Sam Hartman of Wake Forest, Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker, Grayson McCall of Coastal Carolina, SMU’s Tanner Mordecai, Will Rogers of Mississippi State and USC’s Caleb Williams.
The remaining 2022 Preseason Watch List honorees are Gerry Bohanon (USF), Logan Bonner (Utah State), Chase Brice (Appalachian State), Sean Clifford (Penn State), Brett Gabbert (Miami [OH]), Dillon Gabriel (Oklahoma), Jaren Hall (BYU), KJ Jefferson (Arkansas), Devin Leary (NC State), Will Levis (Kentucky), Tanner McKee (Stanford), Bo Nix (Oregon), Aidan O’Connell (Purdue), Spencer Rattler (South Carolina), Chris Reynolds (Charlotte), Cameron Rising (Utah), Spencer Sanders (Oklahoma State), Taulia Tagovailoa (Maryland), Dorian Thompson-Robinson (UCLA), Payton Thorne (Michigan State), Clayton Tune (Houston) and Tyler Van Dyke (Miami).
All 10 FBS conferences as well as a football independent are represented on the list. The Southeastern Conference (SEC) leads the way with seven preseason selections.
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 46th Annual Davey O’Brien Awards Dinner honoring the winner will be held Monday, Feb. 20, 2023, at The Fort Worth Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
The official Davey O’Brien Midseason Watch List will be released on Tuesday, Oct. 18, and will contain all active quarterbacks from the Preseason Watch List, all players honored as a weekly Great 8 recipient through the season’s first seven weeks and any additional quarterbacks approved by the selection subcommittee.
The Midseason Watch List will then be pared down to the 35-player Davey O’Brien QB Class of 2022 on Tuesday, Oct. 25. Fan voting on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) will again play a role in the semifinalist, finalist and winner voting totals when combined with the national selection committee’s ballots. Voting will begin on Oct. 25.
Sixteen semifinalists selected from the QB Class will be named on Tuesday, Nov. 8. The Foundation will announce the three finalists two weeks later (Monday, Nov. 21). The 2022 Davey O’Brien Award winner will be unveiled live on ESPN on Thursday, Dec. 8, during The Home Depot College Football Awards.
2022 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award Watch List
Brennan Armstrong, Virginia, Sr., 6-2, 212, Shelby, Ohio
Stetson Bennett, Georgia, Sr., 5-11, 190, Blackshear, Ga.
Gerry Bohanon, USF, Sr., 6-3, 221, Earle, Ark.
Logan Bonner, Utah State, Sr., 6-1, 230, Rowlett, Texas
Chase Brice, Appalachian State, Sr., 6-3, 235, Grayson, Ga.
Sean Clifford, Penn State, Sr., 6-2, 212, Cincinnati, Ohio
Malik Cunningham, Louisville, Sr., 6-1, 190, Montgomery, Ala.
Brett Gabbert, Miami (OH), Jr., 6-0, 209, St. Louis, Mo.
Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma, Jr., 5-11, 204, Mililani, Hawaii
Jake Haener, Fresno State, Sr., 6-1, 210, Danville, Calif.
Jaren Hall, BYU, Jr., 6-1, 205, Spanish Fork, Utah
Frank Harris, UTSA, Sr., 6-0, 200, Schertz, Texas
Sam Hartman, Wake Forest, Jr., 6-1, 208, Charlotte, N.C.
Hendon Hooker, Tennessee, Sr., 6-4, 218, Greensboro, N.C.
KJ Jefferson, Arkansas, Jr., 6-3, 242, Sardis, Miss.
Devin Leary, NC State, Jr., 6-1, 215, Sicklerville, N.J.
Will Levis, Kentucky, Sr., 6-3, 232, Madison, Conn.
Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina, Jr., 6-3, 210, Indian Trail, N.C.
Tanner McKee, Stanford, Jr., 6-6, 226, Corona, Calif.
Tanner Mordecai, SMU, Sr., 6-3, 218, Waco, Texas
Bo Nix, Oregon, Jr., 6-3, 214, Pinson, Ala.
Aidan O’Connell, Purdue, Sr., 6-3, 210, Long Grove, Ill.
Spencer Rattler, South Carolina, Jr., 6-1, 210, Phoenix, Ariz.
Chris Reynolds, Charlotte, Sr., 5-11, 210, Mocksville, N.C.
Cameron Rising, Utah, Jr., 6-2, 220, Ventura, Calif.,
Will Rogers, Mississippi State, Jr., 6-2, 210, Brandon, Miss.
Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State, Sr., 6-1, 210, Denton, Texas
C.J. Stroud, Ohio State, Jr., 6-3, 215, Inland Empire, Calif.
Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland, Jr., 5-11, 200, Ewa Beach, Hawaii
Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA, Sr., 6-1, 205, Las Vegas, Nev.
Payton Thorne, Michigan State, Jr., 6-2, 210, Naperville, Ill.
Clayton Tune, Houston, Sr., 6-3, 215, Carrollton, Texas
Tyler Van Dyke, Miami, So., 6-4, 224, Glastonbury, Conn.
Caleb Williams, USC, So., 6-1, 215, Washington, D.C.
Bryce Young, Alabama, Jr., 6-0, 194, Pasadena, Calif.
By Conference: SEC (7), ACC (5), Pac-12 (5), Big Ten (5), American (3), Big 12 (2), C-USA (2), Mountain West (2), Sun Belt (2), Mid-American (1), Independents (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), Mac Jones (Alabama, 2020) and Bryce Young (Alabama, 2021).