Friday, December 5, 2008

The O'Brien Finalists Revealed: Sam Bradford

FORT WORTH, Texas (December 2, 2008) - Sam Bradford of the Oklahoma Sooners is one of three Finalists for the 2008 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award® (The O'Brien) announced November 24. Bradford is competing against Texas Tech's Graham Harrell and Texas' Colt McCoy for The O'Brien, honoring the nation's best college quarterback. Sooner fans are encouraged to show their support for Bradford 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.

In the midst of a conference packed with quarterback talent, Bradford has distinguished himself as one of the best in the nation. He currently leads the NCAA with 46 touchdown passes for the season, a number that tops the Oklahoma record books, surpassing the previous record set by 2003 and 2004 O'Brien Winner, Jason White. Bradford, a sophomore, has also broken White's record for career touchdowns at Oklahoma, throwing for 82 in his two seasons as a starter. He has passed for 4,080 yards this year bringing his career total to 7,201 with a quarterback rating that ranks second in the nation (190.97).

In the Sooners most recent game against state rival, Oklahoma State, Bradford threw for 370 yards and four touchdowns in addition to one on the ground, despite an injury to ligaments in his non-throwing hand. His performance on Saturday led the Sooners to a 61-41 win over the Cowboys, elevating them to a No. 2 (BCS) ranking. Oklahoma will represent the South Division in the Big 12 Conference Championship as they face Missouri on Saturday in Kansas City. This will be the final stop on their quest for a berth in the National Championship as a win would solidify their place in Miami for the Orange Bowl.

"Sam Bradford, it's just out of this world, it's just incredible the way he played," Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops said of his quarterback during post game comments. "You look at our third-down conversions, fourth-down conversions, no turnovers, all in all, incredible."

Bradford is in his second year as starting signal caller for the Sooners. He began garnering national attention for his quarterback prowess as only a freshman when he threw for 3,121 yards and 36 touchdowns, setting the NCAA freshman record for touchdown passes. He also led the nation with a passing efficiency rating of 176.53. Bradford's list of accolades for his freshman year include being named a freshman All-American from The Sporting News, Rivals and,'s Big 12 Player of the Year, Sports Illustrated All-America honorable mention, The Sporting News Freshman of the Year, The Sporting News All-Big 12 Freshman, Academic All-Big 12 and honorable mention All-Big 12 by coaches and AP.

Before becoming a Sooner, Bradford, or "Big Easy" as he is often called by his friends, attended Oklahoma City's Putnam City North High School. The 2005 graduate threw for 2,422 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior letterman, earning him a spot on the Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State Team. An all-around athlete in high school, Bradford was also a member of the golf team as well as a standout basketball player, averaging 18.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game as a senior.

Bradford is the son of Kent and Martha Bradford. Bradford's Sooner roots run deep as his father lettered as an OU offensive lineman in 1977-78, playing alongside 1978 O'Brien Memorial Trophy Winner, Billy Sims. Bradford is studying Business at Oklahoma and hopes to one day become an attorney, only after his football career runs its course.

When he's not on the football field or cramming in a workout, the six-foot-four quarterback might be found watching Animal Planet or even playing the cello. But on any given Tuesday night, friends of his know that Bradford is almost sure to be found at OU's weekly Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) gathering. A member of FCA since high school, Bradford now serves on his school's leadership team and has spoken publicly of the influence that the power of faith and perseverance has had on his life, as well as on his football career. Even in the midst of football season, Bradford also manages to set aside time for others. He dedicates his time as a reading mentor to a young boy in Oklahoma City, periodically making the drive to check up on his young friend's reading skills and throw the football around.

Though Bradford does not describe himself as an extremely verbal person, he strives to lead through his actions not words - a goal that he seems to have met this season after leading the Sooners to an 11-1 record, No. 2 ranking and a berth in Saturday's Big 12 Conference Championship.

Bradford will continue to vie for The O'Brien with Finalists Harrell and McCoy 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 (OU Athletics Department )