Thomas, Johnson named to O’Brien watch list
Former Prattville star Justin Thomas was named to the preseason watch list for the Davey O’Brien Award. (Photo contributed)
By Tim Gayle
Montgomery’s Jeremy Johnson and Prattville’s Justin Thomas are on the 2015 preseason watch list for the Davey O’Brien Award, presented annually to the nation’s top quarterback.
Johnson will be stepping into a starting role for Nick Marshall this season at Auburn, but Thomas has already proven himself as a valuable component of the Georgia Tech offense.
In 2014, the fifth-year junior was selected as a team captain and as the most valuable player of the Orange Bowl after averaging 5.7 yards per carry in rushing for 1,086 yards while passing for 1,719 more.
For the ninth consecutive year, fans can start voting for their favorite candidate on Sept. 1 at www.DaveyOBrien.org.
Johnson was one of three Southeastern Conference players making the 24-man roster, joining Tennessee junior Joshua Dobbs and Mississippi State senior Dak Prescott, a 2014 semifinalist. All nominees were required to have started at least one game at their current institution previously.
The field will be narrowed to 16 semifinalists on Nov. 2 and three finalists on Nov. 24. The winner will be announced on the Home Depot College Football Awards show on Dec. 10.
The preseason watch list for the Doak Walker Award, presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate running back, was released on Thursday as well and included Alabama junior Derrick Henry and Troy senior Brandon Burks.
The 65-man watch list also included nine other Southeastern Conference players, including Texas A&M senior Tra Carson, Georgia sophomore Nick Chubb, Arkansas senior Jonathan Williams and junior Alex Collins, LSU sophomore Leonard Fournette, Missouri senior Russell Hansbrough, Mississippi State junior Ashton Shumpert, Vanderbilt sophomore Ralph Webb and South Carolina senior Brandon Wilds.
The list also included senior Travis Greene, who led Bowling Green to a last-minute victory over South Alabama in the inaugural Camellia Bowl last December.
The National College Football Awards Association unveiled the preseason watch lists over an 11-day period that ends on Friday with the preseason watch list for the Walter Camp Award.