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.
On the web:
@NFIDvaccines, @OutlandTrophy, @TheFWAA, @JoeThomas73, #FightFlu
• 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