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Big Ten Football: A Breakdown of the Four B1G Quarterbacks Named to the Davey O’Brien Award Watch List

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Big Ten Football: A Breakdown of the Four B1G Quarterbacks Named to the Davey O’Brien Award Watch List

2020-08-04 13:35:13


-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. (Image Source: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Davey O’Brien Foundation released its preseason watch list for the Davey O’Brien Award, a list which includes four Big Ten quarterbacks.

1. Justin Fields, Ohio State, Junior (6-3, 228): Arguably the most talented quarterback in college football, Fields is among the passers who is expected to be in the mix to go No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. While there is no technical connection between the two, the past three Davey O’Brien Award winners where the first players selected in the ensuing draft. Coming off a special season in which he was both a Davey O’Brien and Heisman finalist (41 TD passes to 3 INTs), Fields is the favorite, along with fellow Georgia native Trevor Lawrence of Clemson.

Around Him: With three starters back, OSU should have one of the nation’s best offensive lines and there’s no lacking for talent in their receiving corps led by junior Chris Olave. A second season playing in Ryan Day’s offense should help as well.

Preseason Award Watch Lists: Chuck Bednarik Award | Maxwell Award |

2. Tanner Morgan, Minnesota, Junior (6-2, 215): No one expected the 2019 season that Morgan turned in, which saw him make the All-Big Ten second team as a sophomore. Not highly touted coming out of high school, the Gopher is considered a legitimate NFL prospect who has displayed both accuracy (66 percent) and big-play ability (30 touchdowns, 10.2 yards per pass). Could he be this season’s Joe Burrow?

Around Him: In Rashod Bateman, Morgan had the arguably the best pass catcher in the conference, that is until Bateman decided to skip the upcoming season. The Gophers do have all five starters back on their offensive line to keep him upright.

3. Sean Clifford, Penn State, Junior (6-2, 219): In his first season as a starter, Clifford finished fourth in the Big Ten in total offense, which included 402 rushing yards from the dual-threat quarterback. Not the most physically gifted passer, Clifford can beat you with his accuracy, touch, and good decision making. If Clifford is going to make a run at postseason awards, he’ll have to improve his all-around game.

Around Him: While PSU needs to rebuild their receiving corps, Pat Freiermuth is one of the nation’s top passing-catching tight ends and this could be their best O-line in years. More importantly, they added former Minnesota OC Kirk Ciarrocca.

4. Jack Coan, Wisconsin, Senior (6-3, 221): Easily the least likely of the four Big Ten quarterbacks on the watch list to make a run at the Davey O’Brien Award. Coan plays in a run-first offense, one which saw him throw for fewer than 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior. He’s a game manager until proven otherwise and might have to hold off talented redshirt freshman Graham Mertz.

Around Him: While left tackle Cole Van Lanen returns, the Badgers must work in three new starters along the offensive line. Coan will also be looking for a new No. 1 target and will not have Jonathan Taylor to take away the opposing defense’s focus.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email:


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