Alabama’s Quinnen Williams wins 2018 Outland Trophy Reply

Nose guard is just second sophomore to win award

ATLANTA — Alabama nose guard Quinnen Williams was named the recipient of the 73rd Outland Trophy on Thursday night during The Home Depot College Football Awards from the College Football Hall of Fame.

The 2018 Outland Trophy, presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), is awarded annually to the nation’s best college interior lineman on offense or defense. NFID is presenting the trophy to help increase awareness about the importance of annual flu prevention. Getting vaccinated each year is your best line of defense against the flu.

Quinnen Williams is the first of Alabama’s now five Outland Trophy winners to play on defense. The other four Crimson Tide winners – Chris Samuels (1999), Andre Smith (2008), Barrett Jones (2011) and most recently Cam Robinson (2016) were all offensive tackles. Williams was selected from a list of three finalists that included Alabama teammate Jonah Williams, an offensive tackle, and Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins. He is just the second sophomore to win the award, following Houston’s Ed Oliver last season.

The official presentation to the winner will be made at the Outland Trophy Awards Dinner produced by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee on Jan. 9, 2019.

The 6-foot-4, 295-pound sophomore from Birmingham, Ala., was an unknown first-time starter when Alabama opened its season and was not mentioned on any preseason All-SEC teams by coaches or media. But Williams immediately became a dominant presence on a front line that has held its opponents to 117.0 rushing yards per game and helped the Crimson Tide’s defense rank fourth in the nation, allowing only 14.8 points per game, and ninth in the nation, giving up 295.4 yards per game. Including last week’s Southeastern Conference Championship Game, Williams leads Alabama with 18 tackles for loss and in yardage with 85 yards lost. His 8.0 sacks were second on the team but lead Alabama with minus-57 yards from those sacks.

Despite being in the middle of the line, Williams is third on the team with 66 total tackles and tied for the team lead with 42 unassisted tackles. He won the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Week award three times this season, and earlier this week was one of three players to earn Alabama’s Defensive Player of the Year Award, and one of four to earn the team’s Outstanding Defensive Player based on tackles and points given by the coaches.

Williams gained national attention with his play in Alabama’s keynote prime-time win Nov. 3 at LSU when he posted career-high numbers for tackles (10) and sacks (2.5) and tied his career-best in tackles for loss (3.5) that helped the Crimson Tide limit LSU to 196 yards of total offense. Williams clogs the middle and allows those around him to create havoc – Alabama has had at least 10 tackles for loss in five of 13 games and the Crimson Tide’s 42 sacks are No. 5 nationally. Williams had two tackles for loss (for minus-12 yards) and a sack last week as Alabama defeated Georgia 35-28 in the SEC Championship Game.

University of Wisconsin All-American Joe Thomas, the 2006 Outland Trophy winner who retired earlier this year after a stellar 11-year career with NFL’s Cleveland Browns, has served as the Outland Trophy #FightFlu ambassador on behalf of NFID. Thomas has been an avid supporter of annual flu vaccination and is making media appearances on behalf of the #FightFlu public awareness campaign to remind everyone 6 months and older to get an annual flu vaccine.

The Outland Trophy is the third-oldest major college football award. Created in 1946 when Dr. John Outland presented the FWAA with a financial contribution to initiate the award, the Outland Trophy has been given to the best interior lineman in college football ever since. Dr. Outland, an All-American at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1890s, eventually took up practice in Kansas City, Mo. An avid outdoorsman, Dr. Outland believed linemen did not get the credit they deserved and wanted an award to recognize them.

The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

About the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
Founded in 1973, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating the public and healthcare professionals about the burden, causes, prevention, and treatment of infectious diseases across the lifespan. Visit nfid.org for more information.

About the Football Writers Association of America
Founded in 1941, the non-profit Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) consists of more than 1,300 members, including journalists, broadcasters, publicists and key executives in all areas of college football. Led by current President Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times, longtime Executive Director Steve Richardson, and a board of veteran journalists, the association continues to grow and work to help college football prosper at all levels. Visit footballwriters.com for more information about the FWAA and its award programs.

Media Contacts
Doug Drotman (doug@drotmanpr.com or 631-462-1198)
Steve Richardson (
tiger@fwaa.com or 214-870-6516)
Diana Olson (
dolson@nfid.org or 301-656-0003, x140)

On the web:
OutlandTrophy.com, FootballWriters.com

Twitter:
@NFIDvaccines, @OutlandTrophy, @TheFWAA, @JoeThomas73, #FightFlu

Related links:
Outland Trophy presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
Outland Trophy joins forces with NFID to #FightFlu
Download Outland Trophy presented by NFID logo

 

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Finalists named for 2018 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award Reply

Winner to be announced on Dec. 13

DALLAS – The Football Writers Association of America, in conjunction with the Allstate Sugar Bowl, announced eight finalists for the 2018 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award on Wednesday. Among the recognized coaches are five repeat finalists from a year ago, a pair of previous winners, and each of the four head coaches in the upcoming College Football Playoff.

In alphabetical order the finalists are: Bill Clark, UAB; Josh Heupel, UCF; Brian Kelly, Notre Dame; Jeff Monken, Army; Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma; Nick Saban, Alabama; Dabo Swinney, Clemson; and Jeff Tedford, Fresno State.

“It is an outstanding group of coaches,” said 2018 FWAA President Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times. “Any one of the coaches would make a great choice for our 2018 Coach of the Year. We believe all these men demonstrate the coaching excellence that the award’s namesake, Eddie Robinson, showed on and off the field.”

Notre Dame’s Kelly and Alabama’s Saban are the only former Eddie Robinson Award winners in the group. The 2018 recipient will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 13.

The official presentation reception will be on Jan. 5, 2019, in San Jose, Calif., where the winning coach will be handed the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year bust during a reception hosted by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in conjunction with the College Football Playoff National Championship.

“The Allstate Sugar Bowl is proud each year to recognize the top college football coach in the nation while at the same time honoring the great accomplishments of a Louisiana legend, Coach Eddie Robinson,” said Sugar Bowl Committee President Rod West. “And we’re excited to do so again this year when we present the award to this year’s winner in a ceremony prior to the National Championship in January.”

The eight finalists have been placed on a ballot which has been sent to the entire FWAA membership. Ballots will be accepted through 5 p.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 7.

The FWAA has presented a coaching award since the 1957 season when Ohio State’s Woody Hayes was named the first recipient. The FWAA coaching award is named after the late Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 seasons.

The 2018 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year finalists:

Bill Clark, UAB: After the school’s two-year hiatus from football, Clark’s Blazers posted an 8-4 record during the 2017 regular season and followed that up with the Conference USA title in 2018 paced by undefeated seasons at Legion Field both years. Clark has built a roster from scratch and has recorded the most victories in a UAB season. The Blazers (10-3), 10th nationally in total defense, will meet Northern Illinois in the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl. Clark, who has won C-USA-high 13 league games over the last two seasons, also was a finalist in 2017.

Josh Heupel, UCF: In his first season as a head coach in Orlando, Heupel has fashioned a 12-0 record and has continued what Scott Frost, last season’s Eddie Robinson Award recipient, started before leaving for Nebraska. The Knights have the longest winning streak in the FBS at 25 games and will meet LSU in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl after winning the American Athletic Conference title. The former Oklahoma quarterback, who was previously offensive coordinator at Missouri, has the Knights ranked No. 8 in the College Football Playoff’s final rankings.

Brian Kelly, Notre Dame: One of four coaches on the list who has led his team to an unbeaten record (12-0) in 2018. Kelly claimed the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award in 2012 when the Fighting Irish were also 12-0 before losing to Alabama in the Bowl Championship Series title game. Kelly was a finalist for the award in 2009 when he was at Cincinnati. After posting a 4-8 record in 2016, Notre Dame has now won 22 of its last 25 games and will face Clemson in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl in one College Football Playoff semifinal.

Jeff Monken, Army: Riding a seven-game winning streak, Army stands at 9-2 before its annual meeting against Navy on Saturday in Philadelphia. The triple-option Black Knights, the nation’s No. 2 rushing team (303 ypg), will play in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl against Houston. Monken, also a finalist in 2017, has seen his team drop games to only Duke and Oklahoma this season. The Sooners had to go to overtime before prevailing, 28-21, in Norman and the Black Knights have not lost since.

Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma: The second-year head coach has taken the Sooners to back-to-back 12-1 seasons and College Football Playoff berths. Behind Heisman Trophy hopeful quarterback Kyler Murray, the Sooners have one of college football’s all-time most prolific offenses. The Sooners, No. 4 in the College Football Playoff’s final rankings, defeated Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game and will face Alabama in a College Football Playoff semifinal in the Capital One Orange Bowl. Riley was also a finalist last season.

Nick Saban, Alabama: The Crimson Tide has been the dominant team of the 2018 season and enters the College Football Playoff as the top seed. The Southeastern Conference champions (13-0) will seek to repeat as national champions and start that quest in the Capital One Orange Bowl against Oklahoma. Saban, a five-time finalist for this award, has done a masterful job of keeping a heavy favorite on track despite a nagging injury to his star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, a Heisman Trophy favorite. While at Alabama, Saban claimed the award in 2008 and also won the award in 2003 while at LSU.

Dabo Swinney, Clemson: Swinney has the Tigers in the College Football Playoff for the fourth straight year with a fourth straight Atlantic Coast Conference championship and a 13-0 record. Swinney is now a four-time finalist for the award (previously in 2011, ’15 and ’17), but has never won it. The Tigers will face Notre Dame in one semifinal the Goodyear Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29 in their first appearance in the Texas-based bowl since 1940. The Tigers are the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff.

Jeff Tedford, Fresno State: In his second season at his alma mater, Tedford took the Bulldogs (11-2) to the Mountain West Conference championship with a 19-16 overtime victory at Boise State. That victory, which avenged a previous loss to the Broncos this season, earned Tedford’s team a berth in the Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl against Arizona State. Tedford was also a finalist last season when his Bulldogs made one of the top turnarounds in college football. Fresno State’s only other loss this season was at Minnesota, 21-14.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 93 Hall of Fame players, 49 Hall of Fame coaches and 18 Heisman Trophy winners in its 84-year history. The 85th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, featuring the Big 12’s Texas and Georgia from the SEC, will be played on January 1, 2019. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.6 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, scholarships and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors nearly 100,000 student-athletes each year and has injected over $2.5 billion into the local economy over the last decade. For more information, visit AllstateSugarBowl.org.

The Eddie Robinson Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

The Football Writers Association of America, founded in 1941, consists of 1,300 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

Eddie Robinson Award
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award | All-time finalists, winners

 

Kentucky’s Allen wins 2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Reply

Linebacker is UK’s first major award winner since 1950

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen was named the recipient of the 2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Monday night before a sold-out banquet crowd of 1,200 at the Charlotte Convention Center. Allen, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound linebacker from Montclair, N.J., accepted the award given to the best defensive player in college football and becomes Kentucky’s first major award winner since Bob Gain won the Outland Trophy in 1950.

The FWAA All-America Committee made Allen the selection as this year’s Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner. Allen was selected from a list of finalists that included Michigan linebacker Devin Bush, LSU safety Grant Delpit, Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and Alabama nose guard Quinnen Williams.

The senior has been one of the nation’s top pass rushers all season with 14 sacks in the 2018 season that led the Southeastern Conference and are third in the nation, to go with SEC-best marks of 18.5 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles. His 14 sacks are the single-season record at Kentucky, as are his 28.5 career sacks heading into the Wildcats’ VRBO Citrus Bowl appearance on Jan. 1.

Allen has 11 career forced fumbles, which ties former Wildcat and current Chicago Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan for the Wildcats’ career mark. His defensive numbers improved as the games wore on – 12 of his 14 sacks have come in the second half, with eight of those 12 in the fourth quarter. He clinched two of Kentucky’s nine wins this season with a sack that caused a fumble that the Wildcats recovered on their opponents’ final possession.

In addition, those 14 sacks have been drive-breakers for opponents. Of the 14 drives in which Allen registered a sack, opponents ran 81 plays for just 211 yards of total offense, or 2.6 yards per play. The 14 drives combined resulted in no points, eight punts and four turnovers.

Allen was the SEC Defensive Player of the Week four times this season and posted double-figure tackles in three games. On the season, Allen has 84 total tackles, six quarterback hurries, four pass breakups and two fumble recoveries.

“Just the way he impacts the game being a big guy, he’s really remarkable,” Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said following a Nov. 17 win over Middle Tennessee. “He’s so unselfish. You see players so often in situations like that (trying to make a play), and he won’t blink an eye if we’re not rushing him. He doesn’t even think about it. When he gets his opportunities, he’s going to go. He wanted the (school sack) record, but not at the expense of our defense and what we’re doing and game planning.”

Allen was an all-state wide receiver for Abbeville (Ala.) High School as a junior before moving back to his hometown of Montclair, N.J., and switching to linebacker for his senior season. He bulked up by 40 pounds upon arriving at Kentucky. He has a fraternal twin brother Isaiah, and a sister, Myisha Hines-Allen, who played college basketball at Louisville and is currently a forward for the WNBA’s Washington Mystics.

In addition to the 2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner’s announcement, the banquet Monday night celebrated the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by the Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery. Tom Cousineau, a 1977 FWAA All-American linebacker at Ohio State and now a College Football Hall of Fame member, was the 2018 Legends Award recipient. The banquet’s keynote speaker was Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.

The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA joined with the Charlotte Touchdown Club and named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football then became a star for professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

The Football Writers Association of America, founded in 1941, consists of 1,300 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

ABOUT THE CHARLOTTE TOUCHDOWN CLUB AND ITS SPONSORS
The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1991 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C., region. The club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches. Since 1991, the club has raised more than $2,000,000 to benefit area high school and collegiate athletics. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or jrocco@touchdownclub.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.

ACN Inc.
Founded in 1993, ACN is the world’s largest direct seller of telecommunications, energy and essential services for residential and business customers. ACN provides the services people need and use every day including phone service, high-speed internet, wireless, television, security and automation, computer support, payment processing and natural gas and electricity. ACN operates in 25 countries with offices located throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific. For more information, visit myacn.com. For information on ACN’s home-based business opportunity, visit acninc.com.

About Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery
Dr. Richard R. Rolle Jr. is a leading oral & maxillofacial surgeon, with strong ties to athletics and delivering excellence. Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery offers expertise in: dental implants, wisdom tooth extraction, youth-capturing, cosmetic injectables, oral surgery and cleft lip reconstruction in his Lake Norman, North Carolina practice. Dr. Rolle holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame where he played varsity football under legendary Coach Lou Holtz. He completed his oral surgery internship at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital and holds a Doctor of Dental Surgery from Meharry Medical College. Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery is the official surgeon for the Charlotte Hornets, Charlotte Checkers and Charlotte 49ers.

Related link:
All-time Bronko Nagurski Trophy winners and finalists
Download Bronko Nagurski Trophy logo

1985 Outland winner Mike Ruth of BC to receive long-awaited Trophy in January Reply

Boston College nose guard Mike Ruth, the 1985 Outland Trophy recipient, will receive his long-awaited Outland Trophy on Wednesday Jan. 9, 2019 at the Greater Omaha Sports Committee’s Awards Banquet sponsored by Werner Enterprises.

The 73rd Annual Outland Trophy, presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), also will be handed off to the yet-to-be-determined 2018 recipient during the banquet at the DoubleTree Omaha Downtown. The winner of the Outland Trophy, as determined by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), will be announced on Thursday Dec. 6 on The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

The three finalists for the 2018 Outland Trophy are, in alphabetical order: Clemson DT Christian Wilkins, Alabama OT Jonah Williams and Alabama NG Quinnen Williams.

Ruth, 54, will receive his trophy as the top interior lineman in college football during the 1985 season from the Rotary Club of Omaha-Downtown. Since the late 1990s, Downtown Rotary has graciously presented a former Outland Trophy recipient his actual trophy. The FWAA did not give out an Outland Trophy until 1988, with previous winners receiving, in many cases, only a plaque.

A consensus first-team All-America as a senior captain, Ruth led the Eagles to three bowl games, including a victory in the 1985 Cotton Bowl against Houston. Boston College finished the 1984 season ranked No 5 nationally. A three-time All-East and All-ECAC selection, Ruth led the Eagles to back-to-back Lambert Trophies as the best FBS team in the East in 1983 and 1984.

Ruth amassed 344 career tackles, 29 sacks, seven forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries during his career. In 1986, he received Boston College’s highest athletic honor when he was named Eagle of the Year. A teammate of College Football Hall of Famer Doug Flutie, Ruth is a member of Boston College’s Varsity Club Hall of Fame. His No. 68 jersey was retired by Boston College.

Mike Ruth

Ruth was drafted in the second round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots and spent two seasons with the franchise. He also played two seasons with the Barcelona Dragons in the World League of American Football. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2017.

After his football career, Ruth worked in insurance for more than a decade and earned a master’s in education from Harvard University. He has served as president of Mike Ruth Consulting since 2003. He currently teaches and coaches at Everett High School in Massachusetts.

Besides the two Outland Trophies, the Tom Osborne Legacy Award will be presented to current Ohio University Coach Frank Solich, who is a former player, assistant coach and head coach for Nebraska. The individual recipients of three 2018 Nebraska football awards will also be recognized.

For more information about tickets and sponsor opportunities for either the reception or the awards banquet please go to https://showofficeonline.com/OTADHOME/

The Outland Trophy is the third-oldest major college football award. Created in 1946 when Dr. John Outland presented the FWAA with a financial contribution to initiate the award, the Outland Trophy has been given to the best interior lineman in college football ever since. Dr. Outland, an All-American at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1890s, eventually took up practice in Kansas City, Mo. An avid outdoorsman, Dr. Outland believed linemen did not get the credit they deserved and wanted an award to recognize them.

The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

About the Football Writers Association of America
Founded in 1941, the non-profit Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) consists of 1,300 members, including journalists, broadcasters, publicists and key executives in all areas of college football. Led by current President Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times, longtime Executive Director Steve Richardson and a board of veteran journalists, the association continues to grow and work to help college football prosper at all levels. Visit footballwriters.com for more information about the FWAA and its award programs.

About the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
Founded in 1973, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating the public and healthcare professionals about the burden, causes, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases across the lifespan. Visit nfid.org for more information. The NFID has partnered with the FWAA and Outland Trophy on behalf of the #FightFlu public awareness campaign to remind everyone 6 months and older to get an annual flu vaccine.

About the Greater Omaha Sports Committee

Founded in 1977, the GOSC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, consisting of more than 1,100 men and women from the City of Omaha, the State of Nebraska, and others. The membership serves to communicate, develop, initiate and promote sports activities in the Greater Omaha sports area. In addition to the Outland Trophy Award Dinner, the Greater Omaha Sports Committee promotes high school, college, and professional sports in the Greater Omaha area and the Midwest.

About Werner Enterprises, Inc.

Founded in 1956, Werner Enterprises is a premier transportation and logistics company, with coverage throughout the world. Werner maintains its global headquarters in Omaha and is among the five largest truckload carriers in the United States, with a diversified portfolio of transportation services that includes dedicated; medium-to-long-haul, regional and expedited van; and temperature-controlled. The Werner Logistics portfolio includes truck brokerage, freight management, intermodal, international and final mile services. International services are provided through Werner’s domestic and global subsidiary companies and include ocean, air and ground transportation; freight forwarding; and customs brokerage.

Three finalists named for 2018 Outland Trophy

For just the second time, teammates are finalists

DALLAS A pair of Alabama teammates – offensive tackle Jonah Williams and nose guard Quinnen Williams – and Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins were named as the three finalists for the 2018 Outland Trophy by the Football Writers Association of America.

The 2018 Outland Trophy, presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), is awarded annually to the nation’s best college interior lineman on offense or defense. NFID is presenting the trophy to help increase awareness about the importance of annual flu prevention. Getting vaccinated each year is your best line of defense against the flu.

Since the Outland Trophy began naming finalists for the award in 1987, this is just the second time teammates have been finalists. In 1997, Nebraska offensive guard Aaron Taylor and defensive tackle Jason Peter were finalists for the award won by Taylor.

Alabama has had four Outland Trophy winners since Chris Samuels won the program’s first Outland in 1999, with its most recent winner being Cam Robinson in 2016 along with Barrett Jones (2011) and Andre Smith (2008). The Crimson Tide have had at least one semifinalist in seven of the last eight seasons. Quinnen Williams would be the first defensive player to win the Outland Trophy for Alabama; each of the previous four have been offensive tackles. Wilkins is Clemson’s third finalist in program history but would be the Tigers’ first winner. Clemson’s last finalist was offensive tackle Stacy Long in 1990, and the Tigers also had defensive tackle Michael Dean Perry among the finalists in 1987.

University of Wisconsin All-American Joe Thomas, the 2006 Outland Trophy winner who retired earlier this year after a stellar 11-year career with NFL’s Cleveland Browns, is serving as the Outland Trophy #FightFlu ambassador on behalf of NFID. Thomas has been an avid supporter of annual flu vaccination and is making media appearances on behalf of the #FightFlu public awareness campaign to remind everyone 6 months and older to get an annual flu vaccine.

The recipient of the 73rd Outland Trophy will be announced during ESPN’s The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 6, live from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. The official presentation to the winner will be made at the Outland Trophy Awards Dinner produced by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee on Jan. 9, 2019.

Here is a closer look at each of the three finalists:

Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson (6-4, 300, Gr., Springfield, Mass.): A standout player for the unbeaten Tigers, even as part of a defensive line that features four returning All-Americans. Clemson has held opponents without an offensive touchdown in eight consecutive quarters dating to Nov. 3. Wilkins was an FWAA First-Team All-America selection in 2016. He has 12.0 tackles for loss, second on the team, to go with four sacks and 45 tackles (32 solo) for the season. Clemson was No. 1 nationally in tackles for loss in the first two of Wilkins’ three prior seasons in the middle and was No. 6 last year. His 16.0 stops behind the line have resulted in 85 yards of losses. Wilkins will play in his 55th career game Saturday against South Carolina. Wilkins graduated in 2017 with a degree in communications in only two-and-a-half years.

Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama (6-5, 301, Jr., Folsom, Calif.): The left tackle for the unbeaten Crimson Tide continues to pace the nation’s No. 5 but arguably most-feared offense. Williams was the Outland Trophy Offensive Player of the Month for September after grading out above 90 percent for the month. He is the leader of the nation’s third-best offense (541.5 total ypg average) that has topped 500 total yards in 10 of 11 games. The junior has started all 40 games in his career and had perhaps his best game against LSU when Alabama averaged 7.6 yards per rush and gained 576 yards against a then-Top-10 defense and allowed only one sack on a season-high 42 pass attempts. The Crimson Tide are third in the nation in scoring at 48.7 points per game and only yield 0.91 sacks per game, tied for ninth nationally.

Quinnen Williams, NG, Alabama (6-4, 295, So., Birmingham, Ala.): The upstart sophomore leads unbeaten Alabama with 15.0 tackles for loss for minus-62 yards, second in the SEC, and is tied for 10th in the SEC with 6.0 sacks. Like Jonah Williams, he too posted a career game against LSU tallying career highs in tackles (10) and sacks (2.5) and tying a career high in tackles for loss (3.5). Williams clogs the middle and allows those around him to create havoc – Alabama has had at least 10 tackles for loss in five of 11 games and the Crimson Tide’s 37 sacks are tied for No. 6 nationally. Williams’ 55 tackles include 34 solo stops.

The three finalists were chosen by the FWAA from a field of eight semifinalists that also included, in alphabetical order: North Carolina State center Garrett Bradbury, Wisconsin guard Michael Deiter, Clemson offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt, Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver and Oklahoma guard Ben Powers.

The Outland Trophy is the third-oldest major college football award. Created in 1946 when Dr. John Outland presented the FWAA with a financial contribution to initiate the award, the Outland Trophy has been given to the best interior lineman in college football ever since. Dr. Outland, an All-American at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1890s, eventually took up practice in Kansas City, Mo. An avid outdoorsman, Dr. Outland believed linemen did not get the credit they deserved and wanted an award to recognize them.
The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

About the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
Founded in 1973, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating the public and healthcare professionals about the causes, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases across the lifespan. Visit nfid.org for more information.

About the Football Writers Association of America
Founded in 1941, the non-profit Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) consists of more than 1,300 members, including journalists, broadcasters, publicists and key executives in all areas of college football. Led by current President Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times, longtime Executive Director Steve Richardson, and a board of veteran journalists, the association continues to grow and work to help college football prosper at all levels. Visit footballwriters.com for more information about the FWAA and its award programs.

Media Contacts

On the web:
OutlandTrophy.com, FootballWriters.com

Twitter:
@NFIDvaccines, @OutlandTrophy, @TheFWAA, @JoeThomas73, #FightFlu

Related links:
Outland Trophy presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
Outland Trophy joins forces with NFID to #FightFlu
Download Outland Trophy presented by NFID logo

2018 Outland Trophy semifinalists unveiled

OMAHA, Neb. — Eight semifinalists for the 2018 Outland Trophy – including two pairs of teammates – were announced Wednesday by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee and the Football Writers Association of America. The eight semifinalists are players from six schools at five different positions representing five different conferences.

The 2018 Outland Trophy, presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), is awarded annually to the nation’s best college interior lineman on offense or defense. NFID is presenting the trophy to help increase awareness about the importance of annual flu prevention. Getting vaccinated each year is your best line of defense against the flu.

University of Wisconsin All-American Joe Thomas, the 2006 Outland Trophy winner who retired earlier this year after a stellar 11-year career with NFL’s Cleveland Browns, is serving as the Outland Trophy #FightFlu ambassador on behalf of NFID. Thomas has been an avid supporter of annual flu vaccination and is making media appearances on behalf of the #FightFlu public awareness campaign to remind everyone 6 months and older to get an annual flu vaccine.

The field for the 2018 Outland Trophy is as follows, listed in alphabetical order: North Carolina State center Garrett Bradbury, Wisconsin guard Michael Deiter, Clemson offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt, Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, Oklahoma guard Ben Powers, Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams and Alabama nose guard Quinnen Williams.

The eight semifinalists will be pared to three finalists next week and announced on Nov. 20. The recipient of the 73rd Outland Trophy will be announced during ESPN’s The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 6, live from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. The official presentation to the winner will be made at the Outland Trophy Awards Dinner produced by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee on Jan. 9, 2019.

Here is a closer look at each of the semifinalists:

Garrett Bradbury, C, North Carolina State (6-3, 300, Gr., Charlotte, N.C.): A three-year starter on the line, the team co-captain has played all but four snaps for the Wolfpack this season. In 679 snaps he has not allowed a sack and has only allowed two pressures on 348 pass attempts. His protection has helped place Ryan Finley on the cusp to become N.C. State’s only quarterback to pass for 3,000-plus yards in three different seasons. Has led the blocking for an offense averaging 31.4 points and 453.0 yards per game. Earned his degree last year in business supply operations management.

Michael Deiter, G, Wisconsin (6-6, 321, Sr., Curtice, Ohio): A mainstay on the Badgers’ offensive front – he has started all 51 games of his career – that is currently paving the way for the nation’s leading rusher and the sixth-best ground attack. Jonathan Taylor (1,548 yards, 154.8 per game) is the fourth Wisconsin back to record back-to-back 1,500-yard rushing seasons and is 25 yards ahead by average to the nation’s second-leading. Deiter (DEE-ter) should make his school-record 52nd career start Saturday at Purdue – 21 have come at left guard, 16 at center and 14 at left tackle.

Mitch Hyatt, OT, Clemson (6-5, 310, Jr., Suwanee, Ga.): The Tigers’ left tackle is helping produce offensive numbers in record territory. The unbeaten Tigers are one of five schools with three active 1,000-yard career rushers on its current roster (Hyatt has been up front for all three), and Clemson is ninth in the nation in total offense at 526.6 yards per game, which is currently 10th in school history. Hyatt, the Outland Trophy Offensive Player of the Month for October, already owns Clemson’s career record for snaps from scrimmage (3,420) and will break another record with a 53rd career start Saturday against Duke.

Ed Oliver, DT, Houston (6-3, 290, Jr., Houston, Texas): The 2017 Outland Trophy winner was the first sophomore to ever win the Outland Trophy and earned FWAA First-Team All-America honors last year. He was an FWAA Freshman All-America in 2016 as well. Despite missing three games and constant double and triple teams, Oliver leads all defensive linemen nationally with an average of 7.29 tackles per game. Oliver’s 1.93 tackles for loss per game is third nationally, and he has a career average of 1.64 tackles for loss per game. His final home game is Thursday against Tulane, as he has already declared to enter the 2019 NFL Draft.

Ben Powers, G, Oklahoma (6-4, 314, Sr., Wichita, Kan.): The Sooners’ left guard is the leader of a line that is currently powering the nation’s top offense in yards per game (577.1) and yards per play (8.91). The 8.91 yards per play is on an NCAA-record pace above Hawaii’s 8.6 from 2006. Oklahoma is the nation’s only team this year with at least 30 rushing touchdowns (31) and at least 30 passing TDs (33), and the Sooners have rushed for at least 300 yards and passed for at least 300 a school-record four times already this year, and in three straight games.

Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson (6-4, 300, Gr., Springfield, Mass.): A standout player for the unbeaten Tigers, even as part of a defensive line featuring four returning All-Americans. Wilkins was an FWAA First-Team All-America selection in 2016. He has 10.5 tackles for loss, second on the team, to go with three sacks and 40 tackles (29 solo) for the season. Clemson was No. 1 nationally in tackles for loss in the first two of Wilkins’ three prior seasons in the middle and was No. 6 last year. His 13.5 stops behind the line have resulted in 67 yards of losses. Wilkins will play in his 54th career game Saturday against Duke. Wilkins graduated in 2017 with a degree in communications in only two-and-a-half years.

Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama (6-5, 301, Jr., Folsom, Calif.): The left tackle for the unbeaten Crimson Tide continues to pace the nation’s No. 5 but arguably most-feared offense. Williams was the Outland Trophy Offensive Player of the Month for September after grading out above 90 percent for the month. The junior has started all 39 games in his career and had perhaps his best game against LSU when Alabama averaged 7.6 yards per rush and gained 576 yards against a then-Top-10 defense and allowed only one sack on a season-high 42 pass attempts. Alabama only yields 0.67 sacks per game, fourth nationally.

Quinnen Williams, NG, Alabama (6-4, 295, So., Birmingham, Ala.): The upstart sophomore leads unbeaten Alabama with 14.0 tackles for loss for minus-58 yards and is tied for 11th in the SEC with 5.0 sacks. He too posted a career game against LSU, tallying career highs in tackles (10) and sacks (2.5) and tying a career high in tackles for loss (3.5). Williams clogs the middle and allows those around him to create havoc – Alabama has had at least 10 tackles for loss in five of 10 games and in three straight. The Crimson Tide’s 36 sacks (3.60 per game) are both tied for No. 3 nationally.

The Outland Trophy is the third-oldest major college football award. Created in 1946 when Dr. John Outland presented the FWAA with a financial contribution to initiate the award, the Outland Trophy has been given to the best interior lineman in college football ever since. Dr. Outland, an All-American at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1890s, eventually took up practice in Kansas City, Mo. An avid outdoorsman, Dr. Outland believed linemen did not get the credit they deserved and wanted an award to recognize them.

The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

About the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
Founded in 1973, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating the public and healthcare professionals about the burden, causes, prevention, and treatment of infectious diseases across the lifespan. Visit nfid.org for more information.

About the Football Writers Association of America
Founded in 1941, the non-profit Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) consists of more than 1,300 members, including journalists, broadcasters, publicists and key executives in all areas of college football. Led by current President Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times, longtime Executive Director Steve Richardson, and a board of veteran journalists, the association continues to grow and work to help college football prosper at all levels. Visit footballwriters.com for more information about the FWAA and its award programs.

Media Contacts

On the web
OutlandTrophy.com, FootballWriters.com

Twitter
@NFIDvaccines, @OutlandTrophy, @TheFWAA, @JoeThomas73, #FightFlu

2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalists named

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Five finalists for the 2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy – presented annually to the nation’s top defensive player by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club – were named on Wednesday.

In alphabetical order, the finalists are: Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen, Michigan linebacker Devin Bush, LSU safety Grant Delpit, Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and Alabama nose guard Quinnen Williams.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy recipient will be chosen from these five finalists. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s entire membership, selects the best defensive player in college football.

The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet, presented by ACN, will be held on Mon., Dec. 3 at the Charlotte Convention Center. In addition to the 2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner’s announcement, the banquet will also celebrate the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by the Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery. Ohio State’s Tom Cousineau, a member of the FWAA’s 1977 All-America team and a College Football Hall of Famer, will be honored. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh will be the keynote speaker at the banquet.

Here is more information on the 2018 finalists, listed in alphabetical order:

Josh Allen, LB, Kentucky (6-5, 260, Sr., Montclair, N.J.): Allen has hampered opposing offenses as a pass-rush specialist on the edge. He leads the SEC with 15.5 tackles for loss, which is also 11th in the nation. His 11 sacks are third nationally and he is one full sack shy of the Kentucky single-season record. Another half-sack would tie him (25.5 at present) as the Wildcats’ all-time career leader. Allen gets progressively better during the game – nine of his 11 sacks have come in the second half with six of them in the fourth quarter – and he is a takeaway producer with five forced fumbles, second in the nation. His 65 total tackles have helped him be named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week four times.

Devin Bush, LB, Michigan (5-11, 222, Jr., Penbroke Pines, Fla.): Bush is Michigan’s ball-hawking tackle leader (61) on the nation’s leader in total defense (219.8 yards per game). He’s always around the ball on a defense that has allowed 338 fewer yards than any team in the country; his 32 assists lead the team and his 29 solo tackles are second. Bush is the Wolverines’ leader with 8.0 tackles for loss and has had at least one tackle for loss in six games. He tied a career-best 2.5 tackles for loss against Nebraska to go with a season-high nine tackles. His 4.5 sacks are second on the team and Bush has contributed seven or more tackles in six games while breaking up 4.5 passes.

Grant Delpit, S, LSU (6-3, 203, So., Houston, Texas): One of this season’s top underclassmen at any position, Delpit leads the SEC and is tied for third in the nation with five interceptions. He also leads the SEC in passes defensed (11) on a defense that leads the SEC and is sixth nationally in pass efficiency defense (98.28 rating). Delpit is third on the team in tackles with 63 and leads in sacks (4.0) and tackles for loss (9.5, 14th nationally). He’s recorded double-digit tackles in three games with a career-high of 10 against Auburn this season when he also had two interceptions and a sack to earn SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 15.

Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson (6-4, 300, Gr., Springfield, Mass.): A standout player, even as part of a defensive line featuring four returning All-Americans. Wilkins was an FWAA First-Team All-America selection in 2016. He has 10.5 tackles for loss, second on the team, to go with three sacks and 40 tackles (29 solo) for the season. Clemson was No. 1 nationally in tackles for loss in the first two of Wilkins’ three prior seasons in the middle and was No. 6 last year. His 13.5 stops behind the line have resulted in 67 yards of losses. Wilkins will play in his 54th career game Saturday against Duke. Wilkins graduated in 2017 with a degree in communications in only two-and-a-half years.

Quinnen Williams, NG, Alabama (6-4, 295, So., Birmingham, Ala.): The upstart sophomore leads Alabama with 14.0 tackles for loss for minus-58 yards and is tied for 11th in the SEC with 5.0 sacks and a 0.5 sacks per game average. He too posted a career game against LSU, tallying career highs in tackles (10) and sacks (2.5) and tying a career high in tackles for loss (3.5). Williams, who earned the Outland Trophy Defensive Player of the Month for October, clogs the middle and allows those around him to create havoc – Alabama has had at least 10 tackles for loss in five of 10 games and in three straight. The Crimson Tide’s 36 team sacks and 3.60 sacks per game are both tied for No. 3 nationally. Has been named a defensive player of the week by the Alabama coaching staff eight times in 10 games.

The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football then became a star for professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

The Football Writers Association of America, founded in 1941, consists of 1,300 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

ABOUT THE CHARLOTTE TOUCHDOWN CLUB AND ITS SPONSORS
The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1991 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C., region. The club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches. Since 1991, the club has raised more than $2,000,000 to benefit area high school and collegiate athletics. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or jrocco@touchdownclub.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.

ACN, Inc.
Founded in 1993, ACN is the world’s largest direct seller of telecommunications, energy and essential services for residential and business customers. ACN provides the services people need and use every day including phone service, high-speed internet, wireless, television, security and automation, computer support, payment processing and natural gas and electricity. ACN operates in 25 countries with offices located throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific. For more information, visit myacn.com. For information on ACN’s home-based business opportunity, visit acninc.com.

About Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery
Dr. Richard R. Rolle Jr. is a leading oral & maxillofacial surgeon, with strong ties to athletics and delivering excellence. Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery offers expertise in: dental implants, wisdom tooth extraction, youth-capturing, cosmetic injectables, oral surgery and cleft lip reconstruction in his Lake Norman, North Carolina practice. Dr. Rolle holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame where he played varsity football under legendary Coach Lou Holtz. He completed his oral surgery internship at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital and holds a Doctor of Dental Surgery from Meharry Medical College. Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery is the official surgeon for the Charlotte Hornets, Charlotte Checkers and Charlotte 49ers.

Related link:
All-time Bronko Nagurski Trophy winners and finalists

In the Trenches: Outland Trophy Matchups Week 11

In The Trenches, our weekly Outland Trophy matchup preview presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, features the nation’s top two teams in conference battles as Alabama hosts Mississippi State and Clemson travels to Boston College.

http://www.sportswriters.net/fwaa/awards/outland/inthetrenches181110.pdf

While you’re at it, we ask that you follow all of the FWAA’s endeavors online:
@TheFWAA
@OutlandTrophy

We have partnered with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and their #FightFlu campaign this season, so we ask that you join spokesman Joe Thomas, a 2006 FWAA All-American and the Outland Trophy winner, in supporting the cause.

Steve Richardson
Executive Director

 

Robert Morris President Dr. Chris Howard named 2018 Armed Forces Merit Award Recipient

Armed Forces Merit Award

FORT WORTH, Texas — Dr. Chris Howard, an Air Force veteran and Robert Morris University president, has been selected as the seventh recipient of Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).

Coordinated by the staff at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the FWAA was created in June 2012 “to honor an individual and/or a group within the realm of the sport of football.”

Brant Ringler, the Executive Director of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, and Steve Richardson, the FWAA’s Executive Director, announced here Thursday on an 11 a.m. (CT) teleconference that Dr. Howard was selected from a list of 56 nominations as the 2018 recipient by a seven-person committee made up of FWAA members and Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl officials.

Kansas State and its football team was honored last November as the sixth recipient of the Armed Forces Merit Award for the university’s partnership with the United States Army that created a bond between the school’s athletic department and the Iron Rangers at Fort Riley.

“Dr. Howard has distinguished himself as collegiate football player, an Air Force veteran and now as a college president where he continues to active in the sport along with providing guidance with those men and women that serve our country,” said Ringler. “We had a list of 56 outstanding nominations for this year’s award and it is difficult to honor only one annually when we have individuals and programs that are very deserving of the honor.”

Dr. Chris Howard

Richardson added that “Dr. Howard has had remarkable career across the board. He embodies what this award is all about. Certainly, from a scholastic standpoint, he is truly outstanding as the NFF’s Campbell Award winner. Then add in the military and football sides of the equation, what more can you say? The FWAA is very excited about honoring someone of this caliber.”

Becoming the eighth president of Robert Morris University in suburban Pittsburgh in February 2016, Dr. Howard is a 1991 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. As Rhodes Scholar, he earned a doctoral degree from the University of Oxford before graduating with an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School.

In 1990, Dr. Howard received the Campbell Trophy, the highest academic award in the nation presented to a senior college football player, and he was inducted into the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame. He is a recipient of the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, which recognizes distinguished individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their collegiate athletic careers.

Dr. Howard is a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, the College Football 150th Anniversary Committee, and the NCAA Honors Committee.

A retired Air Force reserve lieutenant colonel, Dr. Howard served as a helicopter pilot and then became an intelligence officer for the elite Joint Special Operations Command. He served on active duty in Afghanistan in 2003 and was awarded the Bronze Star for his service. Dr. Howard also served as the Reserve Air Attaché to Liberia.

As RMU president, Dr. Howard has opened the Center for Veterans and Military Families. RMU recently announced that it is partnering with the SEAL Future Fund to help active-duty and retired Navy SEALs transition to civilian careers. RMU also offers its MBA program at a deep discount to service members stationed at any of four military bases located near its campus.

“I am humbled and honored to receive this award, which is as much a testament to what we’ve achieved at Robert Morris University as it to me personally,” said Dr. Howard, who served as the president of Hampden-Sydney College, the oldest privately chartered college in the southern United States located near Richmond, Va.

“The lessons in leadership and character that I learned on the football field served me well as an Air Force officer, and that in turn has shaped my success in business and education, as well as the nonprofit and government sectors,” added Dr. Howard, who graduated from Plano Senior High School in 1987 after helping lead the1986 football team to the Texas State Championship.

Nate Boyer of the University of Texas, Austin was the initial Armed Forces Merit Award recipient in 2012. Other recipients were Brandon McCoy of the University of North Texas in 2013, Daniel Rodriguez from Clemson University in 2014, Bret Robertson of Westminster College (Fulton, Mo.) in 2015 and Steven Rhodes from Middle Tennessee State University.

ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 31 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; FCS opening-weekend game; 14 college bowl games, 10 college basketball events, a college softball event and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 375-plus hours of live programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 800,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans. ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program. Collegiate Football -Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (Houston); AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (Tampa, Fla.); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); DXL Frisco Bowl (Texas); Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff (Montgomery, Ala.); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Atlanta); Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); SERVPRO First Responder Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); The Home Depot College Football Awards (Atlanta). Collegiate Basketball -AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Armed Forces Classic (Fort Bliss, Texas); Charleston Classic (South Carolina); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic Presented by Corona (South Bend, Ind.); Myrtle Beach Invitational (Conway, S.C.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); State Farm Champions Classic (Indianapolis) and Wooden Legacy (Fullerton, Calif.). Collegiate Softball -St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational (Clearwater, Fla.). For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages.

The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA, http://www.sportswriters.net) consists of the men and women across North America who cover college football for a living. Founded in 1941, the membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game day operations, major awards and an All-America team. Through its website, the FWAA works to improve communication among all those who work within the game. The FWAA also sponsors scholarships for aspiring writers and an annual writing contest. Behind the leadership of President Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times, Executive Director Steve Richardson and a board of veteran journalists, the FWAA continues grow and work to help college football prosper at all levels. There are now over 1,400 members.

Media Contacts:

  • Tim Simmons, Armed Forces Merit Award Coordinator at 720/244-6580 or bfishinc@aol.com
  • Steve Richardson, Football Writers Association of America at 214/870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com
  • Jonathan Potts, Vice President, Public Relations and Marketing, Robert Morris University, 412/216-6486 or potts@rmu.edu