Davey O’brien played college football at Texas Christian University and became the fourth player to ever win the Heisman Trophy in 1938. O'Brien began playing college football at Texas Christian University (TCU) in 1935, and was backup for Sammy Baugh. He became the starter in 1937, and was named to the first-team All-Southwest Conference.
In 1938, O’Brien threw 194 passes, completed 110 for 1,733 yards and 19 touchdowns. Davey O’brien’s total yards passed was a Southwest Conference record that stood for ten years. He had only four interceptions in 194 passing attempts, and he still holds the NCAA record for most rushing and passing plays in a single-season. That season, he led the TCU Horned Frogs to an undefeated season, as they outscored their opponents by a 269-60 margin and held nine of their ten regular-season opponents to seven points or less, including three shutouts.
TCU finished the season with a 15-7 victory over Carnegie Tech in the 1939 Sugar Bowl and the National Championship title.
O’Brien was named to 13 All-America teams and became the first player to win the Heisman, Maxwell and Walter Camp trophies in the same year. He was also the first Heisman winner from TCU and the first from the Southwest Conference.
The 5'7" 150-pounder O'Brien, who is the smallest player ever to win the Heisman, won in the East, South, Midwest and Southwest, losing in the Far West to California's Bottari. By 1938, the total vote was 584 as more members of the media were asked to participate. Overall, O'Brien received 90 percent of the vote on a 3-2-1 basis.
The Davey O'Brien Award, officially the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, named after Davey O'Brien, is presented annually to the collegiate American football player adjudged by the Davey O'Brien Foundation to be the best of all National Collegiate Athletic Association quarterbacks. The Davey O'Brien Hall of Fame is housed at The Fort Worth Club in Fort Worth, Texas. The annual awards dinner and trophy presentation is held there as well in February.
In 1977, directly after the death of O'Brien, the award was established as the Davey O'Brien Memorial Trophy, and was given to the most outstanding player in the now-defunct Southwest Conference. Earl Campbell won the trophy in 1977, Billy Sims in 1978, and Mike Singletary won it twice in 1979 and 1980. In 1980, it was renamed to the Davey O'Brien Award, and from 1981 onwards it has been awarded to the nation's top quarterback annually.
Jay Berwanger | Larry Kelley | Clint Frank | Davey O'brien | Nick Kinnick
1930’s | 1940’s | 1950’s | 1960’s | 1970’s | 1980’s | 1990’s | 2000’s | 2010’s