The 2016 season is fast approaching, which means it’s time to start previewing players who could be in the discussion for college football’s most prestigious awards when the season is all said and done.
The preseason watch list for the Davey O’Brien Award (given to the nation’s best quarterback) was revealed on Thursday and plenty of Big Ten players made the list.
Here’s a look at the Big Ten players who were named to the O’Brien Award preseason watch list, along with a preview of what to expect from them this season.
Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska: Armstrong is essentially a four-year starter and is poised for his best season yet after throwing for 3,030 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. He will have to cut down on his turnovers, but Armstrong will have a full repertoire of weapons to throw to. Armstrong was also named to the Maxwell Award watch list.
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State: It’s finally Barrett’s time to shine in Columbus, Ohio after competing with Cardale Jones last season. The dual-threat quarterback will have to lead a Buckeyes offense that lost some serious star power from last season. Barrett also was recognized on the Maxwell Award watch list.
C.J. Beathard, Iowa: Beathard played a supporting role behind Iowa’s powerful running game last season. He could assume a featured role in the offense this season. In fact, his offensive coordinator gave him some serious praise earlier in the summer. The praise keeps coming for Beathard, and he was named to the Maxwell Award watch list.
Mitch Leidner, Minnesota: Leidner was solid for the Golden Gophers a year ago, throwing for 2,701 yards and 14 touchdowns. Minnesota could be a dark horse in the Big Ten West with a strong season from Leidner, who was also named to the Maxwell Award watch list.
Wes Lunt, Illinois: Lunt will be the top player on the Illini offense this season with tailback Josh Ferguson out of the fold. He threw for 2,761 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. His weapons around him aren’t spectacular, but Lunt is capable of making the most of it. Lunt was also nominated to the Maxwell Award watch list.