Pitt junior Tino Sunseri has been named to the watch list for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award, annually presented by the Davey O’Brien Foundation in Fort Worth, Texas.
This year's list, which was compiled by a subset of The O'Brien National Selection Committee, features 38 of the nation's top collegiate quarterbacks who were selected based on player performance during the previous year and expectations heading into the 2011 season.
A starter in all 13 games last year, Sunseri (Pittsburgh, Pa./Pittsburgh Central Catholic) connected on 65% of his passes (223 of 346) for 2,572 yards and 16 touchdowns against nine interceptions. He also showed the ability to make plays on his feet. In the Panthers’ BBVA Compass Bowl victory over Kentucky, Sunseri rushed for 53 yards on just four carries (13.3 avg.).
Sunseri recently spent a week in Louisiana as a coach at the Manning Passing Academy – run by former NFL quarterback Archie Manning and his two sons, current pro QBs Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts) and Eli Manning (New York Giants).
Other Pitt players to be selected to national award watch lists this year include junior tailback Ray Graham (Doak Walker Award and Maxwell Award), senior linebacker Max Gruder (Butkus Award), senior offensive lineman Chris Jacobson (Outland Trophy), senior defensive end Brandon Lindsey (Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Award and Rotary Lombardi Award), senior offensive lineman Lucas Nix (Outland Trophy) and junior receiver Mike Shanahan (Biletnikoff Award).
The 2011 season marks the highly anticipated debut of the Todd Graham coaching era at Pitt. Graham comes to Pittsburgh after an exceptional tenure at Tulsa, where in four years he had three 10-win campaigns and three bowl victories.
He compiled a 36-17 overall record with the Golden Hurricane, including a 10-3 mark last year that was highlighted by a 28-27 victory at Notre Dame and 62-35 win over nationally ranked Hawai’i in the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl. Tulsa finished No. 24 in the final Associated Press poll.