FORT WORTH, Texas – The Davey O’Brien Foundation unveiled the 2016 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award Watch List today, a group that includes 30 of the nation’s top college quarterbacks.

Compiled by a subset of the Davey O’Brien National Selection Committee, this year’s list was selected based on player performance during the previous year and expectations heading into the 2016 college football season. All nominees are required to have previously started at least one game at their current institution.

MORE: Check here for full preseason watch lists

The reigning Davey O’Brien Award winner, Deshaun Watson of Clemson, headlines the list. The junior is bidding to become the award’s first two-time winner since Oklahoma’s Jason White (2003-04). In addition, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, one of three finalists a year ago, returns for his junior season.

Other contenders include five semifinalists from 2015 – Luke Falk (Washington State), Patrick Mahomes II (Texas Tech), Josh Rosen (UCLA), Seth Russell (Baylor) and Greg Ward Jr. (Houston) – as well as Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett, who was a semifinalist in 2014. Notable players named to the watch list for the second straight year include: Josh Dobbs of Tennessee, Miami’s Brad Kaaya, Anu Solomon of Arizona and Western Michigan’s Zach Terrell.

Player School Yr.
Tommy Armstrong Jr. Nebraska Sr.
J.T. Barrett Ohio State Jr.
C.J. Beathard Iowa Sr.
Jake Browning Washington So.
Joshua Dobbs Tennessee Sr.
Dane Evans Tulsa Sr.
Luke Falk Washington State Jr.
Quinton Flowers USF Jr.
Skyler Howard West Virginia Sr.
Brad Kaaya Miami Jr.
Chad Kelly Ole Miss Sr.
DeShone Kizer* Notre Dame Jr.
Taylor Lamb Appalachian State Jr.
Mitch Leidner Minnesota Sr.
Wes Lunt Illinois Sr.
Patrick Mahomes II Texas Tech Jr.
Tanner Mangum* BYU So.
Baker Mayfield Oklahoma Jr.
Nick Mullens Southern Miss Sr.
Josh Rosen UCLA So.
Mason Rudolph Oklahoma State Jr.
Cooper Rush Central Michigan Sr.
Seth Russell Baylor Sr.
Brett Rypien Boise State So.
Anu Solomon Arizona Jr.
Brent Stockstill Middle Tennessee So.
Zach Terrell Western Michigan Sr.
Phillip Walker Temple Sr.
Greg Ward Jr. Houston Sr.
Deshaun Watson Clemson Jr.

Nearly half (14) of the players on the watch list are seniors, while 11 juniors and five sophomores round out the contingent. Among leagues, the Big 12 Conference and Big Ten Conference lead the way with five nominees each, followed by the Pac-12 Conference and American Athletic Conference with four apiece.

Appearing on the Watch List is not a requirement for a player to win the Davey O’Brien Award. Quarterbacks from all 128 NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools are eligible for the award.

Sixteen semifinalists for the award will be named on Thursday, Nov. 10. From that list, the Foundation and the Selection Committee will announce the three finalists on Tuesday, Nov. 22. The 2016 Davey O’Brien Award winner will be announced live Thursday, Dec. 8 on The Home Depot College Football Awards.

The 2016 season marks the 10th year that fans will be invited to participate in the voting process on www.voteobrien.org. Results from the Davey O’Brien Fan Vote will be combined with the ballots from the Selection Committee. Fan voting, which accounts for five percent of the total balloting, will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Previous Davey O’Brien Award winners include: Jim McMahon (BYU, 1981), Todd Blackledge (Penn State, 1982), Steve Young (BYU, 1983), Doug Flutie (Boston College, 1984), Chuck Long (Iowa, 1985), Vinny Testaverde (Miami, 1986), Don McPherson (Syracuse, 1987), Troy Aikman (UCLA, 1988), Andre Ware (Houston, 1989), Ty Detmer (BYU, 1990-91), Gino Torretta (Miami, 1992), Charlie Ward (Florida State, 1993), Kerry Collins (Penn State, 1994), Danny Wuerffel (Florida, 1995-96), Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997), Michael Bishop (Kansas State, 1998), Joe Hamilton (Georgia Tech, 1999), Chris Weinke (Florida State, 2000), Eric Crouch (Nebraska, 2001), Brad Banks (Iowa, 2002), White (Oklahoma, 2003-04), Vince Young (Texas, 2005), Troy Smith (Ohio State, 2006), Tim Tebow (Florida, 2007), Sam Bradford (Oklahoma, 2008), Colt McCoy (Texas, 2009), Cam Newton (Auburn, 2010), Robert Griffin III (Baylor, 2011), Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M, 2012), Jameis Winston (Florida State, 2013), Marcus Mariota (Oregon, 2014) and Watson (Clemson, 2015).

The 40th Annual Davey O’Brien Awards Dinner will be held Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, in Fort Worth, Texas.