Due to the requirement of starting at least one game the season prior, Ohio State redshirt freshmen quarterback C.J. Stroud and Jack Miller and true freshman Kyle McCord were all left off the preseason watch list for the Davey O’Brien Award, which was announced on Tuesday morning.
Named after former TCU quarterback Davey O’Brien, the award is presented annually to college football’s best quarterback. Troy Smith is the only player in school history to capture the honor, doing so after leading the Buckeyes to an undefeated regular season in 2006, while Justin Fields was a finalist in 2019.
The 30 quarterbacks who made this year’s preseason watch list, meanwhile, include Arizona State’s Jayden Daniels, Boston College’s Phil Jurkovec, Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, Clemson’s D.J. Uiagalelei, Coastal Carolina’s Grayson McCall, Florida State’s McKenzie Milton, Georgia’s J.T. Daniels, Indiana’s Michael Penix Jr., Iowa State’s Brock Purdy, Kent State’s Dustin Crum, Liberty’s Malik Willis, Louisiana’s Levi Lewis, Louisville’s Malik Cunningham, Marshall’s Grant Wells, Miami’s D’Eriq King, Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan, Missouri’s Connor Bazelak, Nevada’s Carson Strong, North Carolina’s Sam Howell, Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma State’s Spencer Sanders, Ole Miss’ Matt Corral, Utah’s Charlie Brewer, San Jose State’s Nick Starkel, TCU’s Max Duggan, UCF’s Dillon Gabriel, UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson, USC’s Kedon Slovis, UTSA’s Frank Harris and Wisconsin’s Graham Mertz.
Now, their absence doesn’t mean that Stroud, Miller or McCord can’t eventually be named a semifinalist, finalist or win the award. But they must first win the battle to become Ohio State’s starting quarterback in fall camp, as spring practice was not enough to separate one from the others.
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