Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Graham Harrell named O'Brien Quarterback of the Week

FORT WORTH, Texas (October 6, 2008) - The Davey O'Brien Foundation has named Graham Harrell of Texas Tech the O'Brien Quarterback of the Week for week six. Tech fans are encouraged to continue the momentum and show their support for Harrell by visiting www.VoteOBrien.org and casting their vote. The top three candidates in the Fan Vote will automatically be added to the Semifinalist list on October 27; Harrell currently holds seventh place.

Harrell directed the Texas Tech offense on Saturday as the seventh-ranked Red Raiders convincingly defeated Kansas State 58-28 in their Big 12 Conference season opener. The senior quarterback completed 38 of 51 passes for 454 yards and six touchdowns. His 15-yard completion to inside receiver Adam James in the second quarter earned him the title as the Red Raiders' all-time leading passer.

"It's a huge honor with all the great quarterbacks that have come through here," Harrell said in post game comments. "It comes with a lot of help."

The record was previously held by Kliff Kingsbury who passed for 12,429 yards between 1999 and 2002. Harrell has now passed for 12,709 yards in his career at Tech and still has seven games remaining in the regular season. The six-foot-three quarterback has led the Raiders to a 5-0 record and maintained their highest ranking in more than thirty years. The No. 7 Red Raiders now turn their focus to the Nebraska Cornhuskers who they will play in front of a home crowd in Lubbock this Saturday.

"If you lead the nation in passing, I would think you deserve some attention," Texas Tech Head Coach Mike Leach said. "It's not like he just does it once in a while."

Harrell is in his third season as the Red Raiders' starting quarterback. In 2007 he threw for 5,705 yards and 48 touchdowns, earning him recognition as a 2007 O'Brien Semifinalist. He was also recognized as the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl MVP, Sammy Baugh Trophy winner and All-Big 12 Conference Second Team.

Before becoming a Red Raider, the Texas native was coached by his father, Sam Harrell, while a three-year starter at Ennis High School. Harrell completed his tenure there with a 41-3 record, passing for 4,825 yards and 67 touchdowns during his senior season. This All-American selection is the state of Texas' all-time leading passer with 12,532 yards and 167 touchdowns. He also ranks nationally in single-season touchdowns (second), career touchdowns (third) and career passing yards (sixth).

The O'Brien Quarterback of the Week is determined by a subset of the Davey O'Brien National Selection Committee. The subset of the committee is chaired by Verne Lundquist (CBS Sports) and consists of Dennis Dodd (CBS SportsLine), Ivan Maisel (espn.com), Joe Schad (ESPN/ABC), Dick Weiss (New York Daily News) and Kelly Whiteside (USA Today). This subset will select the quarterback of the week based on their performance during the prior weekend's game, taking into consideration individual statistics, contribution to team performance, strength of opponent, etc.

The O'Brien honors the nation's best college quarterback of the year. Currently all 119 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) quarterbacks are candidates for the award until Semifinalists are announced on October 27. Finalists will be announced November 24. The 2008 Winner will be announced December 11.

About The O'Brien Fan Vote
Fans can now register and vote for The O'Brien Fan Vote online at www.VoteOBrien.org to show their support for their favorite college quarterback. Fans will be able to choose from any of the 119 FBS quarterbacks beginning on Tuesday, September 2, leaving room for the possibility of a quarterback who is not on the Watch List to win the award. The top three quarterbacks who garner the most votes will be added to The O'Brien Semifinalist List, and the Fan Vote will then count as 5% in determining the Finalists and Winner. The 2008 Winner will be announced during The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show airing December 11 on ESPN. The recipient will be honored February 16, 2009, at the 32nd Annual Davey O'Brien Awards Dinner at The Fort Worth Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

Fans can show their support by adding The O'Brien Facebook application to their Facebook Profile. The new application can be found by searching O'Brien Fan Vote and clicking the applications tab or at http://apps.new.facebook.com/daveyobrien/.

Fans can also download an interactive "widget" at www.DaveyOBrien.org/FAN/fan_widgets.asp featuring a voting link and the ability to post and share on Web sites, social networks and blogs.