Thursday, December 4, 2008

The O'Brien Finalists Revealed: Colt McCoy

FORT WORTH, Texas (December 4, 2008) - Colt McCoy of the Texas Longhorns is one of three Finalists for the 2008 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award® (The O'Brien) announced November 24. McCoy is competing against Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and Texas Tech's Graham Harrell for The O'Brien, honoring the nation's best college quarterback. Longhorn fans are encouraged to show their support for McCoy by visiting and casting their vote as often as once daily. The voting will continue until December 7 with 5% of the final tally coming directly from the Fan Vote.

McCoy has directed the Longhorns to an outstanding season, completing conference play in the Big 12 with an 11-1 record and No. 3 (BCS) ranking. Their 49-9 win over rival Texas A&M on Thanksgiving earned the Longhorns the title of Big 12 South Co-Champions. Texas shares this title with Oklahoma and Texas Tech. McCoy completed more than 82 percent of his passes against the Aggies for 311 yards, bringing his season total to 3,445 yards for a new Longhorn-record.

"Colt has been a tremendous leader for us both on and off the field," Texas Head Coach Mack Brown said of the quarterback. "He's done everything we've asked of him as a player, leading us in passing and rushing and even in our toughest game at Texas Tech. ... But more importantly, he's been the heart of our offense, taken on a great leadership role on this team and a terrific representative of this program. As a player, leader and person, Colt McCoy is everything you could possibly want in your football program."

With one year of eligibility remaining, McCoy already holds a 31-7 record as a starter, topping the Texas record books for all-time victories after surpassing the previous record of 30-2 set by 2005 O'Brien Winner, Vince Young. The junior signal caller has logged over 4,000 yards of total offense this season with 4,021 yards. He has led the Longhorns in rushing all season, finishing with 576 yards, elevating his career total to 1,238.

This past season has carried additional significance for McCoy, not because of his team's success, but because of a choice he made prior to Texas' opening game in late August. Each season Coach Brown encourages his players to dedicate their season to someone special, and it was not until this year that McCoy made this personal dedication. Prior to the kickoff of every game, the Longhorns' field general will fasten a chain with a silver crucifix around his neck and place it under his number twelve jersey. The cross was worn by McCoy's cousin, Sgt. Grant Hinds, who served three tours of duty in the Marines in both Iraq and Afghanistan before passing away at the age of 25. The life of this young Marine who was desperately seeking to overcome post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares and depression tragically ended after a car accident while at Kennesaw State University. McCoy was fishing with teammate and roommate, Jordan Shipley, when he received the news.

"Every game, I say, 'This is for Grant,'" McCoy said. "I want to play with the same heart and attitude he had with all the courage it took to fight for us."

McCoy is in his third year as starting quarterback for the Longhorns. He started all 13 games during both his freshman and sophomore years. In 2007, as a sophomore, McCoy completed 65.1 percent of his passes for 3,303 yards. He earned Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP honors and was selected as a first-team Academic All-Big 12 selection, in addition to other accolades. McCoy's talent was recognized his freshman year at Texas. In 2006 he was named an O'Brien Semifinalist, recognized as The Sporting News' National Freshman of the Year, named the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year and earned second-team All-Big 12 honors, Alamo Bowl Offensive MVP honors, as well as others.

Prior to donning the Burnt Orange, McCoy was coached by his father, Brad McCoy, at Jim Ned High School in Tuscola, Texas. He credits his father as being the largest influence on his football career. McCoy finished his high school tenure with a 34-2 record as a three-year letterman at quarterback. He passed for 9,344 yards and 116 touchdowns and is the all-time leading passer in Texas 2A history.

The Longhorn's quarterback is currently majoring in sports management at Texas and hopes to have a great job and a happy family whenever his football days come to an end. Whenever he is not on the field or studying, McCoy may be found serving others as he is active in UT's community service program and has spent time traveling to Peru to do missionary work.

McCoy will continue to vie for The O'Brien with Finalists Bradford and Harrell until the Winner is announced during The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on December 11. All Finalists will be in attendance in Orlando, Fla., for the awards show. The O'Brien recipient will be honored February 16, 2009, at the 32nd Annual O'Brien Awards Dinner at The Fort Worth Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

Photo Credit: College Press Box (Texas)