Matt Leinart Named Finalist For Davey O'Brien and Maxwell Awards

Nov. 23, 2004

Quarterback Matt Leinart has been named one of three finalists for both the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award and the Maxwell Award.

The O'Brien Award is presented annually by the Davey O'Brien Foundation to the nation's best college quarterback, while the Maxwell Award is given annually by the Maxwell Football Club to the college player of the year.

The other O'Brien finalists are Utah's Alex Smith and Oklahoma's Jason White. White and teammate Adrian Peterson are the other Maxwell finalists.

The winners of both awards will be announced live on ESPN on the 2004 Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 9 in Orlando, Fla., at 7 p.m. ET

The O'Brien winner will be honored Feb. 21, 2005, at the 28th annual Davey O'Brien Awards Dinner at The Fort Worth Club in downtown Fort Worth.

The Maxwell recipient will be honored at the 68th annual Maxwell Awards Banquet to be held on Feb 25, 2005, at Harrah's Entertainment Complex in Atlantic City, N.J.

Leinart, a leading Heisman Trophy candidate, has completed 65.7% (203-of-309) of his passes in 2004 for 2,348 yards and 23 touchdowns with just 5 interceptions, plus he has run for 3 TDs. His statistics are comparable or better in 2004 than they were at the same point last year, and he's doing it this year without 2003's top 2 pass catchers--Mike Williams and Keary Colbert--and behind a rebuilt offensive line. And at this point in 2004, he has fewer interceptions and a better completion percentage and passing rating--and has led USC to more wins--than Carson Palmer did after 10 games of his 2002 Heisman Trophy season.

He already has thrown 61 touchdowns in just 23 career starts, with at least 1 TD in every game he has started and at least 2 TDs in all but 2 games. He is averaging a TD pass every 11.7 career attempts. During USC's current 19-game winning streak, he has thrown 53 TDs and just 8 interceptions. USC is 22-1 when Leinart starts.

The Davey O'Brien Foundation was established in 1977 to present the O'Brien Memorial Award, recognizing annually the outstanding college football player in the five southwestern states of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. In 1981, the award was redirected to be national in scope but limited to quarterback, the favorite position of the award's namesake, Davey O'Brien. O'Brien led the TCU Horned Frogs to the 1938 national championship and was the first player to win the Heisman, Walter Camp and Maxwell Awards in one season. A high school scholarship program began in 1986, awarding annually a $20,000 college scholarship to an outstanding senior student-athlete who attends high school in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Each year the Maxwell Football Club presents the Maxwell Award for the College Player of the Year. This award is presented in honor of Robert W. (Tiny) Maxwell, legendary college player, official and sports columnist. Voters for the Maxwell College Awards are NCAA head college football coaches, members of the Maxwell Football Club and sportswriters and sportscasters from across the country.

USC has had three Maxwell Award winners (O.J. Simpson in 1968, Charles White in 1979 and Marcus Allen in 1981), but has never had an O'Brien Award winner.