(UHND.com) — Earlier this week it was Jeff Samardzija who was named a finalist for a post season award, the Billetnikoff Award, but Tuesday it was junior Brady Quinn whose name was thrown into the post season award mix when he was named finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award along with Matt Leinart of Southern Cal and Vince Young of Texas.
The Davey O’Brien Award is given out annually to the best quarterback in the country as voted on by a national panel comprised of sports writers, commentators, and former winners of the award. This year’s award will be handed out live on December 8 during ESPN’s Home Depot College Football Awards Show airing at 7:00 PM EST.
Quinn’s record setting performance has gotten the junior into the final three for the award with two of the preseason favorites for the award — Leinart and Young. Amongst the Notre Dame records Quinn has set this year are career passing yards (7,618 and counting), single season passing yards (3201 and counting), single season passing touchdowns (29 and counting), career passing touchdowns (55 and counting), consecutive games with a passing touchdown (13 and counting), most career 400 yard games, single game passing touchdowns (6 vs. BYU).
Quinn has had a remarkable season in Charlie Weis’ offense and has looked like a different quarterback. He’s leaps and bounds better than he was a season ago and his signature performance may have come in defeat at the hands of USC. Quinn lead the Irish to the lead with just over 2 minutes remaining with a touchdown run to go along with his passing touchown to Jeff Samardzija.
Quinn’s competition for the award is stiff from Leinart and Young, but because this award is given to the best quarterback Quinn’s chances of winning are much better than his chances of winning the Heisman this year.
Leinart’s numbers are worse than they were a year away when he lost the award to Jason White of Oklahoma. Leinart has 24 touchdowns on the year with 3,217 yards and 7 interceptions. Leinart has also run 6 touchdowns in this year for Southern Cal though to go with his 24 passing touchdowns in 11 games.
Young’s passing stats are the least impressive of the trio with just 2,414 yards and 22 touchdowns with 8 interceptions through the air. On the ground Young has done much more damage than his fellow finalists with 774 yards and 8 touchdowns on the ground. Young, like Leinart though, has his team undefeated and ready to play for the national title.
Of the three quarterbacks, Quinn’s passing stats are the best. Leinart’s numbers are similar but Quinn has 2 less interceptions and 5 more touchdowns in less games than the 5th year senior from Southern Cal.
Should Quinn win the award, he would be the first Notre Dame player to win the award since its inception in 1977. Tony Rice was a finalist in 1988 and 1989 as was Rick Mirer in 1992, but neither came home with the award.