Three finalists named for 2018 Outland Trophy Reply

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

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2018 Outland Trophy semifinalists unveiled Reply

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 Reply

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 Reply

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 Reply

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

Alabama’s Williams is Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week Reply

Sophomore nose guard leads charge in shutout of LSU

DALLAS — Alabama nose guard Quinnen Williams set the pace for an overwhelming performance by the Crimson Tide defense in a 29-0 blanking of LSU. Williams posted career-highs with 10 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss along with 2.5 sacks as Alabama held the Tigers to 196 yards of total offense. For his play in the middle of the ‘Bama defense, Williams has earned the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Nov. 3, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

Williams, a 6-4, 295-pound sophomore from Birmingham, Ala., was a solo force plugging the middle of Alabama’s defensive front. The top-ranked Crimson Tide (9-0) held No. 3 LSU to just 12 rushing yards, and Williams’ 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks combined to account for 37 yards lost for the Tigers. Seven of Williams’ 10 stops were solo tackles. LSU had been averaging 383.6 yards and 30.4 points per game coming into the game.

Williams leads the Crimson Tide’s defensive line in tackles with 43 this season along with a team-high 12 tackles for loss (with minus-49 yards lost) and 4.0 sacks (for minus-26 yards). He is second on the team in quarterback hurries with nine and has one pass broken up.

The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s entire membership, selects a 26-man All-America Team and eventually the Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalists. The committee members then select the winner as 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.

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 the most prestigious awards in college football. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

About the Football Writers Association of America:
Founded in 1941, the FWAA 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.

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 http://www.rolleoralfacialsurgery.com. 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.

2018 Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Players of the Week
• Weekend of Sept. 1: Tyler Horton, Boise State
• Weekend of Sept. 8: Nate Landman, Colorado
• Weekend of Sept. 15: Alvin Davis Jr., Akron
• Weekend of Sept. 22: Ben Burr-Kirven, Washington
• Weekend of Sept. 29: Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame
• Weekend of Oct. 6: Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
• Weekend of Oct. 13: Keisean Lucier-South, UCLA
• Weekend of Oct. 20: Austin Robinson, Houston
• Weekend of Oct. 27: Reed Blankenship, Middle Tennessee
• Weekend of Nov. 3: Quinnen Williams, Alabama

Related link:
Bronko Nagurski Trophy (All-Time Winners, Finalists and Players of the Week)

In the Trenches: Outland Trophy Matchups Week 10

Key battles in the Big Ten and Big 12 races headline In The Trenches, our weekly look at matchups featuring Outland Trophy candidates. Michigan plays host to Penn State and tries to keep its upper hand in the East Division race and Texas travels to Morgantown to face high-flying West Virginia in what may be an elimination game in the battle for the conference’s regular-season title.

http://www.sportswriters.net/fwaa/awards/outland/inthetrenches181103.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

 

Armed Forces Merit Award 2018 finalists revealed

FORT WORTH, Texas — Five individuals and one program have been named as finalists for the 2018 Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).

This year’s recipient will be announced prior to Veteran’s Day on Thursday (November 8). The announcement of the 2018 recipient will be made jointly by Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Executive Director Brant Ringler and FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson on an 11 a.m. (CT) teleconference.

Armed Forces Merit Award

Three of the five individual being for the 2018 Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the FWAA were also finalists in 2017 when Kansas State and its football team was announced 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.

U.S. Air Force Academy Coach Troy Calhoun, Robert Morris University president Dr. Chris Howard and Texas Tech University strength and conditioning coach Rusty Whitt lead the list of five individuals name as 2018 finalists after advancing to the final round of voting in 2017. Both Calhoun and Dr. Howard are Air Force veterans and Whitt served in the U.S.  Army

Other individuals named as finalists are defensive back and Air Force veterans Darren Palmer of UNLV and wide receiver and National Guard reservists Casey Stewart of Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va. The lone program advancing to the finals is Athletes Of Valor, an organization that works with active duty military and veterans to help them get recruited to college and play sports.

The Armed Forces Merit Award’s selection committee is made up of five FWAA members and two representatives from the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. A total of 56 “candidates” were nominated for the 2018 award that was created in June 2012 “to honor an individual and/or a group with a military background and/or involvement that has an impact within the realm of college football.”

Nate Boyer of the University of Texas, Austin was the initial 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.

Athletes Of Valor – Unlike college-athlete recruiting services, Athletes of Valor uniquely serves servicemen and women throughout the different stages and challenges of their transition. First, by connecting qualified, competitive servicemen and women with collegiate coaches, and then by facilitating internship and job opportunities with corporate partners. Athletes of Valor’s only-of-its-kind model provides veterans an avenue to showcase their skills and character traits while also giving collegiate coaches the space they need to access experienced veteran athletes. Over one million servicemen and women will transition over the next four years, and statistics show that only about fifty percent will end up earning a degree. With around 85% of student-athletes graduating, the numbers tell a story. With Athletes of Valor, veterans have a unique opportunity to compete on a collegiate team, contribute their experience and maturity, and be a part of something bigger than themselves. Bridging the communication gap between service members and collegiate coaches is at the core of Athletes of Valor’s overall mission to help veteran’s transition successfully.

 

Troy Calhoun

Troy Calhoun, Head Coach, United States Air Force Academy (U. S. Air Force) – A 1989 graduate from the Academy and a member of the superintendent’s list by earning over a 3.0 grade point average along with a military performance average of better than 3.0, Calhoun and his wife, Amanda, have a strong respect and affinity for the members of our armed services and are very involved with numerous charitable and community endeavors. After serving from 1989-1995 as an active duty officer in the Air Force, Calhoun coached at Ohio, Wake Forest, the Denver Broncos and the Houston Texans before becoming the Falcon head coach in 2007. In 11-plus seasons at Air Force, Calhoun has led the Falcons to nine bowl games and an 85-64 record.

 

Dr. Chris Howard

Dr. Chris Howard, President, Robert Morris University (U. S. Air Force) – Dr. Howard is the eighth president of Robert Morris University in suburban Pittsburgh. He is a 1991 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, a Rhodes Scholar (earned a doctoral degree from the University of Oxford), and a graduate with an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School. 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.

 

Darren Palmer

Darren Palmer, UNLV (U. S. Army) – A walk-on defensive back/receiver, Palmer got his first taste of college football last season after previously spending nearly a decade serving in the military. He joined the Rebels in 2017 through open tryouts during the offseason, which led to a roster spot during spring practice. Palmer Joined the U.S. Air Force out of high school in 2009 and rose to E-4 Senior Airman status during the four-year stint. He was also stationed first in Fairbanks, Alaska, before moving to a base in Hawai’i. He has also spent three years in the Air National Guard. A 2009 graduate of Lithia Springs High School in Georgia, Palmer is a human services major at UNLV. He was one of a school-record 26 Rebels named 2017 Academic All-Mountain West. A member of the Rebels special teams, Palmer has competed in seven games this season with seven total tackles.

 

Casey Stewart

Casey Stewart, Shenandoah University (National Guard) – In his third-season at the Winchester, Va., school, Stewart is the Hornets third-leading receiver (35 catches for 529 yards) and leads Shenandoah in scoring with 11 touchdown receptions for 66 points. After catching only one pass as a freshman, Stewart had 32 receptions for 478 yards and six touchdowns in 2017 for Shenandoah. He enlisted in the National Guard in January 2017 and completed his basic training in Fort Benning, Georgia. He missed most of Shenandoah’s spring practice while he spent the next 14 weeks in boot camp. Stewart made an appearance at SU toward the end of spring practice 2017 to show his coaches and teammates that he was still invested in the Hornets’ football program. He also was forced to miss the first week of Shenandoah’s preseason camp in August while at a two-week training exercise at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. Stewart has a six-year contract with the National Guard with an additional two years of inactive reserve if he chooses not to re-up his contract. He wants to work for the federal government (FBI, CIA or DEA) upon his college graduation. If he doesn’t get accepted agencies, he’ll attend officer candidate school.

 

Rusty Whitt

Rusty Whitt, Strength & Conditioning, Texas Tech University (U. S. Army) – In his third season at Texas Tech, Whitt served in the United States Army as a Senior Special Forces Communication Sergeant in the 10th Special Forces Group. Whitt was a member of the U.S. Army from Aug. 2003-Jan. 2009 where during that time he deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) V and VI. Whitt developed and initiated a comprehensive pre-deployment conditioning program for his Special Forces Team prior to and during OIF V and VI. He received a combat infantry badge, two Iraqi campaign medals and an Army commendation medal with valor. Whitt spent six seasons as the head strength and conditioning coach for a Louisiana-Lafayette and a year-long stint as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Rice. Prior to joining the military, Whitt was the head strength and conditioning coach at Sam Houston State. Whitt began his strength and conditioning career with graduate assistantships at Midwestern State University, and the University of Texas. He performed an internship in the strength and conditioning department at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Whitt earned his bachelor’s degree in police science and administration from Abilene Christian University in 1994 and his master’s degree in kinesiology from Texas in 1997.