Tigers Hankins on Davey O'Brien Watch List

IRVING, Texas - The Davey O'Brien Foundation today announced its preseason watch list for the 2007 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, presented annually to the nation's best college quarterback. The 2007 watch list is made up of 35 candidates representing 11 conferences. Conference USA tied for the most nominees from one conference, along with the Pac-10 and Mountain West. C-USA is represented by Memphis senior Martin Hankins, Rice junior Chase Clement, SMU sophomore Justin Willis and Tulsa senior Paul Smith.

The Watch List is based on All-America teams and Honorable Mentions published in at least six different preseason college football magazines. A candidate must be listed as an All-America quarterback or as a 1st or 2nd team All-American within his conference in at least one publication, or as Honorable Mention in at least three publications.

The O'Brien requires Selection Committee members to consider the character and leadership qualities of each candidate, in addition to athletic prowess when voting.

"Along with athletic ability, The O'Brien winner must exhibit the same character and moral fiber that Davey O'Brien displayed throughout his life," Davey O'Brien Foundation executive director Danielle Moorman said. "We challenge Watch List candidates to live up to this fundamental aspect of our award while leading their teams into competition."

In his first season as the Tigers starting quarterback after transferring from Southeastern Louisiana, Hankins completed 59.9 percent of his passes for 2,550 yards and 18 touchdowns. He threw for over 200 yards in seven games and finished fifth in C-USA in passing average. Hankins tossed multiple touchdowns on five occasions and completed 33 passes that produced a gain of 20 yards or more.

Clement threw for 1,707 yards in his eight starts last season while completing 57.7% of his throws (153 of 265) and throwing just five interceptions. He finished the year with 2,188 yards of total offense, the fourth highest total in school history. Rice averaged 34 points a game in his eight starts. His 21 touchdown passes matched the school mark set by fellow San Antonio product Tommy Kramer in 1976 and tied by Michael Calhoun in 1981.

Willis re-wrote the Mustangs' single-season passing record books during his first year on the Hilltop, setting a new school record for touchdown passes with 26. For the year, he completed 182-of-270 for 2,047 yards and just six interceptions, ranking 10th in the nation in passing efficiency. His 29 TDs accounted for were the most in SMU history and his 2,401 yards of total offense were fourth-best in a season at SMU. In addition, his 67.4 completion percentage was best in school history.

Smith enters his final season in second-place on the school's all-time passing and total offense charts. He has completed 64-percent of his passes for 5,871 yards and 36 touchdowns, while putting up 6,418 total yards and 42 touchdowns in his career. A preseason selection to the Conference USA all-league team by the C-USA Coaches, Smith has thrown for two or more TDs in 10 career games and has 18 career passing games with 200 or more yards. Last year, he became only the third quarterback in school history to pass for over 2,000 yards in two consecutive seasons. In 2006, Smith completed 66-percent of his passes for 2,727 yards, 141.02 passing efficiency, 209.8 yards per game and 15 touchdowns. Smith was named to the Coaches All-C-USA second team and third-team by the media.

The winner will be announced on The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN Dec. 6, 2007. The recipient will be honored Feb. 18, 2008, at the annual Davey O'Brien Awards Dinner at The Fort Worth Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

About The Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award®

The Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award® (The O'Brien) honors the nation's best college quarterback of the year and inspires student-athletes to triumph both on and off the field. By recognizing and honoring athletes who excel in both sports and academics while exhibiting strong character and leadership, The O'Brien helps to instill a lifelong moral fiber in each candidate. The O'Brien is overseen by the Davey O'Brien Foundation, which was founded in 1977 and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. The Foundation provides 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.com <http://www.daveyobrien.com/index.htm>.

The 35 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award watch list candidates, in alphabetical order, are:

(Name, School, Year,)

Erik Ainge Tennessee SR

John David Booty USC SR

Colt Brennan Hawai'i' SR

Brian Brohm Louisville SR

Shaun Carney Air Force SR

Rudy Carpenter Arizona State JR

Chase Clement Rice JR

Chase Daniel Missouri JR

Nate Davis Ball State SO

Dennis Dixon Oregon SR

Julian Edelman Kent State JR

Caleb Hanie Colorado State SR

Martin Hankins Memphis SR

Graham Harrell Texas Tech JR

Omar Haugabook Troy SR

Chad Henne Michigan SR

Rocky Hinds UNLV JR

Chase Holbrook New Mexico St. JR

Brian Johnson Utah JR

Kinsmon Lancaster UL-Monroe JR

Dan LeFevour Central Michigan SO

Corey Leonard Arkansas St. SO

Nate Longshore California JR

Colt McCoy Texas SO

Anthony Morelli Penn State SR

Curtis Painter Purdue JR

Matt Ryan Boston College SR

Jameel Sewell Virginia SO

Riley Skinner Wake Forest SO

Paul Smith Tulsa SR

Matthew Stafford Georgia SO

Karsten Sween Wyoming SO

Pat White West Virginia JR

Justin Willis SMU SO

Andre' Woodson Kentucky SR