SOURCE: Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award

November 28, 2007 15:05 ET

The O'Brien Finalists Revealed: Dennis Dixon

This Release Is Second in a Series of Three Highlighting The O'Brien Finalists

FORT WORTH, TX--(Marketwire - November 28, 2007) - The Oregon Ducks' quarterback, senior Dennis Dixon, is one of three featured on the 2007 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award® (The O'Brien) Finalist List, announced on November 19. Dixon is competing against junior Chase Daniel of Missouri and sophomore Tim Tebow of Florida for The O'Brien Trophy.

With Dennis Dixon at the helm, Oregon had a highly successful 8-2 season before he tore the ACL in his left knee. Dixon was injured in the Ducks' ninth game of the year against Arizona State, which he proceeded to lead his team to win despite his pain. However, Dixon was removed from the field in the first quarter of the following week's game, his last in college, against Arizona. His torn ACL finished the season for him, but not before he completed 172 of 254 passes for 2,136 yards, 20 touchdowns and just four interceptions. In addition, Dixon ran for 583 yards and nine touchdowns to land second on Oregon's single-season list for most rushing yards by an Oregon quarterback.

"Courageous, committed and perseverance are the best words to describe Dennis Dixon," said Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti. "There never was any questioning his natural talent as not only an outstanding football player but more impressively, a gifted athlete. But Dennis became committed to reaching his fullest potential, both on and off the field. At the time of his injury, I firmly believe there was no better collegiate football player in the country and no one more valuable to his team. One of his biggest achievements over time was his recognition by his peers as a team leader. Few people will ever comprehend that his drive to complete the season despite a torn ACL was fueled by his desire to fulfill team goals and not for personal gain."

Dixon was the starting quarterback for San Leandro (Calif.) High School's football team beginning his sophomore year. In his senior season, Dixon threw for 2,426 yards and 30 touchdowns, leading the Pirates to a 12-1 season. He completed his high school career with 5,951 yards and 79 touchdowns, guiding San Leandro to a 36-3 record.

During his time in high school, Dixon was considered a double threat. He was both a quarterback and a star outfielder who many thought would be drafted in the first or second round of the 2003 amateur baseball draft. He ultimately chose to commit to Oregon football, and in time became the Ducks' starting signal caller, but with an understanding from Oregon that he could also play baseball.

Following the 2006 season, a tough one in which Dixon lost his starting job, the Atlanta Braves called and asked him to join their minor league system as a fifth-round draft choice. He did. During the off season, Dixon played outfield for the Braves' minor league team, and while he chose to return for football, he still holds his baseball contract.

Dixon credits his time with the Braves' organization as the reason his game was fine tuned this season. He says he learned to be patient, to brush off mistakes and to play with all he has until the whistle blows. He returned to the Ducks as the starting quarterback for the 2007 season and made a believer out of last year's skeptics. The Ducks rose to a higher standard of play and were ranked as high as second in the BCS under his leadership.

Dixon completed requirements for his sociology major in June and will graduate in December so that this season, he could concentrate solely on football -- and it showed. Dixon won Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week honors three times this season and currently leads the Pac-10 in passing efficiency, and ranks fifth in the country in the same category. He ranks third in Pac-10 total offense, and posted a career-best 382 yards and five touchdowns against Stanford on Cardinal home turf earlier this year. Dixon did all of this while maintaining a 3.33 GPA, for which he will be honored with an $18,000 post-graduate stipend as a recipient of a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award on December 4 in New York City.

A possible reason for his success is the emotional good luck charm Dixon carries into every game. A tattoo of his late mother, Jueretta, who died of breast cancer, is inked onto the shoulder of his throwing arm. Jueretta died shortly after Dixon started at Oregon, and fans have noticed that when he is on the field he regularly reaches over to rub his arm which he has said helps him feel her presence.

Chip Kelly, the Ducks' offensive coordinator and Dixon's confidant, compares him to former O'Brien Winner Vince Young, and has no doubt that Dixon will be drafted into the NFL in 2008.

"Dennis Dixon has played two games less than his competitors yet still holds top rankings in the Pac-10 -- that's incredible," said executive director of the Davey O'Brien Foundation, Danielle Moorman. "His dedication to the game and his teammates is a key component to his success as was evidenced by his passionate involvement on the sidelines after his injury."

Fans will be able to vote for their favorite Finalist to win this coveted award once daily on The O'Brien's Web site, Voting for this year's Winner will close at noon Central Time on Sunday, December 2.

The Fan Vote counts as 5% in determining the Winner of The 2007 O'Brien Award, and now is the time for fans to make their voices heard. Daniel is currently in first place in the Fan Vote. "With 97 members on the Selection Committee, the Fan Vote can certainly make a difference in determining our Winner," said Moorman.

The other 95% of the vote will come from the O'Brien Selection Committee, which is comprised of journalists, broadcasters and former O'Brien Winners. The Committee is asked to evaluate each Finalist on their quarterback skills, athletic ability, academics, reputation as a team player, character, leadership and sportsmanship.

Fans can find ideas on ways to promote their favorite Finalist by visiting and clicking on the SPREAD THE WORD link on the home page. Fans who have not yet registered to vote can do so on the home page as well.

All Finalists will be in attendance in Orlando, Fla., where The O'Brien Winner will be announced on The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show December 6.

About The Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award®

The O'Brien honors the nation's best college quarterback of the year and inspires student-athletes to triumph both on and off the field. By recognizing and honoring athletes who excel in both sports and academics while exhibiting strong character and leadership, The O'Brien helps to instill a lifelong moral fiber in each candidate. The O'Brien is overseen by the Davey O'Brien Foundation, which was founded in 1977 and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. The Foundation provides scholarships and university grants to help high school and college athletes transform leadership on the field into leadership in life. For more information, visit

American Airlines is the official travel partner of the Davey O'Brien Foundation.

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