Ohio State's Cardale Jones and Christian Hackenberg of Penn State not only will compete for representation in the Big Ten championship game from the East division with Connor Cook, the trio will also be in line for the 2015 Davey O'Brien Award, given to the country's top preforming quarterback since 1981.
Cook, a fifth year senior at Michigan State, was one of 24 players who were elected to the trophy's watch list on Thursday. Cook was one of 16 semifinalists last season during MSU's run to the Cotton Bowl on New Year's Day.
In honor of former TCU quarterback Davey O'Brien, the first player to ever win the Heisman Trophy, Walter Camp Player of the Year and Maxwell Award in the same season back in 1938, there has yet to be a representative from East Lansing to win the award.
But if there ever was a definite possibility of someone terminating the prolonged streak, it'd be Cook, considering what's in stake for his final season as a collegiate athlete.
Projected to be selected No. 1 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, according to WalterFootball.com, Cook is four wins shy of becoming the winningest quarterback in Michigan State history, surpassing Kirk Cousins record of 27 wins from 2009-11 after notching a 23-3 record in 26 career starts.
2014 was a career-year for the two-time second-time All-Big Ten selectee, as he led the Big Ten in passing yards per game (247.2) and finished second in the FBS in passing yards per completion (15.2). He also tied a school record by throwing at least one touchdown in 16 consecutive games, a feat shared by Cousins and Drew Stanton.
"Connor Cook has an extremely competitive nature," quarterbacks coach Brad Salem said in a press release. "He has made some big-time throws during his career, and he’s a guy his teammates trust to make a play when the game is on the line."
The winner of the award will be announced at the College Football Awards Show on Dec. 10 in Atlanta, Georgia, five days after the Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis, Indiana.