From The Tribune staff reports
FORT WORTH, Texas — Tribune-area football has been competitive over the years — a thought that, perhaps, has never been bolstered more than it was on Tuesday when the Davey O’Brien Foundation revealed its 2020 National Quarterback Award Watch List.
Included in a list of the nation’s top 30 returning college quarterbacks, are two local products. Former Pinson Valley quarterback Bo Nix, a rising sophomore at Auburn, and former Hewitt-Trussville signal caller Zac Thomas, a senior at Appalachian State, are expecting big years at their respective schools.
The award is presented annually to the best college football quarterback in the country. Compiled by a subset of the Davey O’Brien National Selection Committee, this year’s list was selected based on career player performance and expectations heading into the 2020 college football season.
Thomas is 22-3 as a starter in Boone, N.C. with 5,779 career yards and 67 total touchdowns. In his first season as the Mountaineers’ starter, he earned the 2018 Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year award.
He followed up with a big junior year, going for 3,158 total yards and 28 scores as Appalachian State went on to a 13-1 record. Expect him to gain more exposure as the 2021 NFL Draft approaches.
Nix, who won two state titles with the Indians in 2017-18, won’t be draft eligible next spring, but that won’t stop NFL owners from watching.
The righty, a former ASWA Mr. Football Award winner, threw for 2,542 yards and 16 touchdowns as a freshman at Auburn last season. He was later named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year.
Nix and Thomas join a deep pool of talent on this year’s watch list, including Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), Justin Fields (Ohio State), Mac Jones (Alabama) and Kyle Trask (Florida).
See the full Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award Watch List below.
Hank Bachmeier, Boise State, So., 6-1, 200, Murrieta, Calif.
Ian Book, Notre Dame, Sr., 6-0, 206, El Dorado Hills, Calif.
Alan Bowman, Texas Tech, So., 6-3, 210, Grapevine, Texas
Charlie Brewer, Baylor, Sr., 6-1, 206, Austin, Texas
Shane Buechele, SMU, Sr., 6-1, 207, Arlington, Texas
Jack Coan, Wisconsin, Sr., 6-3, 221, Sayville, N.Y.
Sean Clifford, Penn State, Jr., 6-2, 219, Cincinnati, Ohio
Dustin Crum, Kent State, Sr., 6-3, 201, Grafton, Ohio
Micale Cunningham, Louisville, Jr., 6-1, 200, Montgomery, Ala.
Jayden Daniels, Arizona State, So., 6-3, 175, San Bernardino, Calif.
Sam Ehlinger, Texas, Sr., 6-3, 230, Austin, Texas
Justin Fields, Ohio State, Jr., 6-3, 228, Kennesaw, Ga.
Dillon Gabriel, UCF, So., 6-0, 186, Mililani, Hawaii
Donald Hammond III, Air Force, Sr., 6-2, 220, Hampton, Ga.
Sam Howell, North Carolina, So., 6-1 1/2, 225, Indian Trail, N.C.
Mac Jones, Alabama, Jr., 6-2, 205, Jacksonville, Fla.
D’Eriq King, Miami, Sr., 5-11, 195, Manvel, Texas
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson, Jr., 6-6, 220, Cartersville, Ga.
Levi Lewis, Louisiana, Sr., 5-10, 190, Baton Rouge, La.
Kellen Mond, Texas A&M, Sr., 6-3, 217, San Antonio, Texas
Tanner Morgan, Minnesota, Jr., 6-2, 215, Union, Ky.
Jamie Newman, Georgia, Sr., 6-4, 230, Graham, N.C.
Bo Nix, Auburn, So., 6-2, 207, Pinson, Ala.
Brock Purdy, Iowa State, Jr., 6-1, 212, Gilbert, Ariz.
Chris Robison, Florida Atlantic, Jr., 6-1, 200, Mesquite, Texas
Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State, So., 6-1, 199, Denton, Texas
Kedon Slovis, USC, So., 6-2, 200, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Zac Thomas, Appalachian State, Sr., 6-1, 210, Trussville, Ala.
Kyle Trask, Florida, Sr., 6-5, 239, Manvel, Texas
Brady White, Memphis, Sr., 6-3, 215, Santa Clarita, Calif.