Six Outland Trophy seminfinalists revealed in Omaha

Spotlight on the Outland Trophy

The Outland Trophy

The Outland Trophy

OMAHA – Six semifinalists for the 2014 Outland Trophy — five offensive linemen and one defensive tackle — were announced on Thursday night during a reception hosted by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee.

The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), in a call of its 2014 All-America Committee, has determined the following six players as semifinalists for the award, in alphabetical order: Malcom Brown, Texas defensive tackle;  Reese Dismukes, Auburn center;  Spencer Drango, Baylor offensive tackle;   Jake Fisher, Oregon offensive tackle; Tre’ Jackson, Florida State offensive guard, and Brandon Scherff, Iowa offensive tackle.

The field for the Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the best interior lineman in college football on offense or defense, will be reduced to three players early next week.  Those finalists will be announced the evening of Nov. 25 during the College Football Awards Nomination Special on ESPNU (6-6:30 p.m. EST).  The winner of the 69th Outland Trophy will be revealed on Dec. 11 on ESPN College Football Awards (7-9 p.m. EST) from the Dance Hall on the Disney Boardwalk in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The semifinalists:

Bob Mancuso Jr. of the Greater Omaha Sports Committee, FWAA First Vice President Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald and FWAA Past President Tom Shatel, also of the World-Herald, attended the announcement of Outland Trophy semifinalists on Thursday in Omaha.

Bob Mancuso Jr. of the Greater Omaha Sports Committee, FWAA First Vice President Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald and FWAA Past President Tom Shatel, also of the World-Herald, attended the announcement of Outland Trophy semifinalists on Thursday in Omaha.

Malcom Brown, DT, Texas, 6-2, 230 pounds, junior: He leads the Horns with 6.5 sacks, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by a defensive tackle in a dozen years in Austin. He paces the squad in 14 tackles for loss and six quarterback pressures. He also has forced two fumbles and recovered one. In his most recent game, he had two sacks and forced a fumble in Texas’  28-7 victory at Oklahoma State that made the Longhorns (6-5) bowl eligible. “Malcom is having an unbelievable season, an All-American year,” Texas coach Charlie Strong said. “He’s so fun to watch because he plays with great energy and is just a dominating player.”

Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa, 6-5, 320 pounds, senior He has started 23 straight games at left tackle for the 7-3 Hawkeyes. In all he has played in 41 games and started 33 of them. He has been a strong leader in all four seasons he has played for Iowa. “Brandon came back for his senior year with a mission to prove, and I think he has done that” said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. “From a leadership standpoint, having a guy play at an NFL level on a college playing field has been important to our football team. The toughness he brings, the attention to detail, the physical nature of his play, he’s  pretty special .”  Iowa ranks 72nd in scoring offense (28.1 ppg) and 64th in total offense (399.6 ypg).

Tre’ Jackson, OG, Florida State, 6-4, 330 pounds, senior: Florida State says, Jackson “has the strength and agility to be a dominant force in both run-blocking and pass-blocking and has paved the way for Florida State’s offense.” He has started 22 straight games and 38 in his career.  He is a three-time ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week this season: North Carolina State, Syracuse and Notre Dame. He has recorded the top grade among Florida State offensive linemen in eight of 10 games this season. Seminoles rank 16th in scoring offense (37. 1 ppg) and 11th in passing offense (318.1 ypg).

Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon, 6-6, 299 pounds, senior He missed two games earlier in the season with a leg injury and Heisman Trophy candidate, quarterback Marcus Mariota, was sacked 12 times over that period and the Ducks lost to Arizona.  He’s a vital cog on the offensive line, where he has had to move to left tackle because of injuries to other players. Oregon ranks fifth in FBS in total offense, producing 531.2 yards a game and a whopping 7.28 yards a play. He’s a converted tight end who also has played guard and still is filling out.

Reese Dismukes, C, Auburn, 6-3, 295, senior He has been the mainstay of the offensive line, a captain, the last two seasons.  He has played in 47 games over four seasons at Auburn, starting 47 of those games. A much heralded recruit out of high school, Dismukes is considered the glue of the offensive line that grinds out yards in a triple option attack.  Auburn’s rushing offense ranks No 8. In the country (272.8 yards a game), No. 18 in total offense (485.4 yards a game) and 26th in scoring (35.5ppg).

Baylor offensive tackle Spencer Drango's image popped up on the big screen via Skype as he was named an Outland Trophy semifinalist on Thursday night.

Baylor offensive tackle Spencer Drango’s image popped up on the big screen via Skype as he was named an Outland Trophy semifinalist on Thursday night.

Spencer Drango, OT, Baylor, 6-6, 310 pounds, junior: Imposing type lineman for the explosive Baylor Bears who rank first in the country in scoring offense (50.1 ppg) in total offense (585.1 yards per game) and third in passing offense (354.2 yards a game). Drango leads all Bears on the current team with 31 career starts. Bears ranks 27th in country through nine games, giving up just 13 sacks as Drango fortifies at his left tackle spot. The Bears’ offense also boasts nation’s best in touchdowns per game (6.6), first downs per game (29.6) and fourth-down conversions (23).

The Outland Trophy, which has been awarded annually by the FWAA since 1946, is named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Pennsylvania in the late 1900s. The Outland Trophy is the third oldest player award in major college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award.

For the 18th consecutive year, the presentation banquet of the Outland Trophy will occur in Omaha. The official 2014 Outland Trophy presentation to the winner will be on Jan. 15, 2015 at a banquet sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee. At the same banquet, Notre Dame lineman Ross Browner will receive an Outland Trophy. He was the 1976 winner of the award — before trophies were handed out by the FWAA.

The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 21 awards boast nearly 700 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of 1,400 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 or 972-713-6198.

The Greater Omaha Sports Committee, founded in 1977, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, consisting of more than 300 men and women from the City of Omaha and the State of Nebraska. The membership serves to communicate, develop, initiate and promote sports activities in the Greater Omaha sports area.

 

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