QB O’Korn makes 2014 O’Brien list

HOUSTON – Houston sophomore quarterback John O’Korn placed his name on a second national award preseason watch list as the Davey O’Brien Foundation announced its watch list for the 2014 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award Wednesday.

The watch list honor marks O’Korn’s second this preseason as he joined junior wide receiver Deontay Greenberry on the Maxwell Award watch list on July 7. The two are a part of a group of six UH student-athletes that have accumulated 10 national award watch list mentions this month.

The American’s 2013 Rookie of the Year, O’Korn, a native of Huntingdon, set the Houston freshman record for passing touchdowns (28) and completions (259), leading all true freshmen nationally with his 28 touchdowns. O’Korn took over as Houston’s starting quarterback in the third game of the season and had multiple passing touchdowns in eight games as he finished the year with 3,117 yards, just 14 yards short of the Houston freshman record of 3,131 yards set by Kevin Kolb by 2003.

O’Korn’s 3,117 yards, 259 completions and 28 passing touchdowns lead all returners from The American while his 28 TDs rank eighth nationally among returners.

Price to have surgery

PITTSBURGH – Pitt junior defensive lineman Ejuan Price will undergo season-ending surgery today on a torn left pectoralis muscle, Coach Paul Chryst announced.

Price sustained the injury this week during a workout.

“We are incredibly disappointed for Ejuan,” Chryst said. “We will do everything we can to help him stay encouraged and focused through this challenge.”

As a sophomore in 2013, Price was enjoying a productive campaign until he suffered a season-ending back injury in the Oct. 19 Old Dominion game. He played in six contests at defensive end (starting four) and totaled 23 tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack and one pass breakup. Price had a career-high eight tackles at Virginia Tech and posted four tackles with two TFLs against Virginia.

Conner gets noticed

PITTSBURGH – Pitt sophomore James Conner, the Panthers’ leading rusher last season, has been named to the preseason watch list for the 2014 Doak Walker Award, annually presented to the nation’s top college running back.

Conner has now been named a preseason candidate for three different awards. He previously was named to the watch lists for the Maxwell Award, given to college football’s player of the year, and Paul Hornung Award, given to the country’s most versatile player.

Last season, Conner led Pitt in rushing yards (799) and rushing touchdowns (eight), becoming the first freshman to lead the Panthers in those two categories since Dion Lewis in 2009. He averaged 5.5 yards on 146 carries in 12 games (missing the Oct. 19 Old Dominion game due to injury).

Conner’s most memorable performance came in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl when he rushed for 229 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries (8.8 avg.). His rushing yardage set a Pitt bowl record, eclipsing Tony Dorsett’s 202 yards vs. Georgia in the Jan. 1, 1977, Sugar Bowl. Conner also contributed as a pass rushing specialist vs. Bowling Green, drawing a key holding call on the Falcons’ final possession, and was named the bowl’s MVP.