July 17, 2013 11:19:37 AM
HOOVER, Ala. - Mississippi State University senior quarterback added another watch list honor to his preseason after being named to the 2013 Davey O'Brien Award list Wednesday morning.
The Davey O'Brien Award, given to the nation's best quarterback, have been given out to five first round draft picks in the National Football League (Robert Griffith III, Cam Newton, Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow). Six other quarterbacks in the Southeastern Conference joined Russell on the 34-player list.
The senior signal caller broke 11 single-season school records as a junior, completing 231 passes for 2,897 yards and 24 touchdowns. Russell currently stands as the school's all-time leader in passing efficiency (136.38) and is only one passing touchdown away from the tying the school record for passing touchdowns (38), held by Derrick Taite from 1993-96.
Russell and MSU coach Dan Mullen spent their final spring session together trying to exploit more of a pro-style offense with the fifth-year senior under center much more.
"As I get older in my career it's about taking what the defense gives you - boy that sounds boring doesn't it?," Russell said after the Maroon-White spring game on April 23. "It's true though because you don't have to force anything downfield. I get that now."
Russell, who had four interceptions in the 34-20 loss on New Year's Day in the 2013 Gator Bowl against Northwestern University, focused most of the spring season on one single on-the-field item and a critical off-the-field element to help him prepare for his final season at MSU.
"The great thing when you have a fifth-year senior quarterback, he is going to feel very comfortable in making his input," Mullen said. "He knows our offense, he knows what we want to accomplish, he knows what he is comfortable with. So he is going to have a lot of input because I can trust his input."
This year's list, which was compiled by a subset of the Davey O'Brien National Selection Committee, features 34 of the nation's best college quarterbacks who were selected based on player performance during the previous year and expectations heading into the 2013 college football season.
The 2012 Davey O'Brien Winner, Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) and 2012 finalist Braxton Miller (Ohio State) join five 2012 semifinalists on the Watch List: Tajh Boyd (Clemson), Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville), Marcus Mariota (Oregon), AJ McCarron (Alabama) and Aaron Murray (Georgia).
Appearing on the Watch List is not a requirement for a player to win the Davey O'Brien Award. Quarterbacks from all 125 NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools are eligible for the award until the field is narrowed to 16 semifinalists on Monday, Nov. 4. The Foundation and the Selection Committee will announce three finalists on Monday, Nov. 25. The 2013 Davey O'Brien Winner will be announced on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 12.
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
2. Local vampire film to debut in Columbus ENTERTAINMENT
4. Art Walk Downtown returns to Columbus Thursday ENTERTAINMENT
5. Final prep underway for free open-air play at MSU ENTERTAINMENT