No surprises here with the Davey O'Brien watch list announcement, it's the four quarterbacks you expected to get a mention on this list. Utah State's Chuckie Keeton, Nevada's Cody Fajardo, Colorado State's Garrett Grayson, and Boise State's Grant Hedrick are three of the 39 players who landed on the watch list for the nation's best quarterback Wednesday morning.
After an injury-shortened Junior season, Keeton is back for his final year at USU with the hopes of leading the Aggies to another berth in the MWC Championship. He looked untouchable to start the 2013 season, racking up 1,362 yards, 17 touchdowns, and just one interception in his first five games of the year. He was on pace for a career year before a knee injury against BYU ended his season, now back at 100%, Keeton is gunning for a MWC Championship to end his college football career.
In Nevada, Cody Fajardo had big shoes to fill after the departure of Colin Kaepernick in 2011, and so far he hasn't disappointed the Wolfpack faithful. He's only one of two players in the nation who have passed for 30-plus touchdowns and ran for 30-plus touchdowns, and has the fewest interceptions of any returning QB this season. A strong finish to his Nevada career could rise his stock in the eyes of NFL scouts.
After one of the best statistical seasons in CSU history, Garrett Grayson is back in Fort Collins to try and lead the Rams to back-to-back bowl games for the first time since 2002-03. He nearly broke the 4,000-yard threshold and threw 23 touchdowns in 2013, and lead CSU to one of the best bowl comebacks in recent memory. Down 45-30 with less than three minutes to play, Grayson rallied the Rams back to win the 2013 New Mexico Bowl over Washington State. Although number one running back Kapri Bibbs departed for the NFL, Grayson will be the offensive leader the Rams need this year.
Finally, after spending most of the 2013 season as a back-up to Joe Southwick, Grant Hedrick took over the reins of the Broncos offense for five starts last year, performing fairly well in those appearances. Hedrick threw for 200-plus yards and a score in each of his starts, including a career performance against Colorado State where he threw for 305 yards and five scores while completing 70% of his passes.
These four seniors are more than able to take home the O' Brien Award with a big finish to their careers, and big performances all year long could make them Heisman trophy candidates as well.