Alabama’s Leatherwood wins Outland Trophy

DALLAS – Alabama offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood was named the recipient of the 75th Outland Trophy on Thursday night during The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN. The Outland Trophy is awarded annually to the nation’s best college interior lineman on offense or defense and Leatherwood is the third Alabama lineman of the last five seasons to win it and the sixth overall.

Leatherwood, a 6-6, 312-pound senior from Pensacola, Fla., was selected by the All-America Committee of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) from three finalists that also included Notre Dame offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg and Iowa defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon.

Of Alabama’s five previous Outland winners – Quinnen Williams (2018), Cam Robinson (2016), Barrett Jones (2011), Andre Smith (2008) and Chris Samuels (1999) – five of them were also offensive tackles. The Outland Trophy now has consecutive offensive winners (Oregon guard Penei Sewell last year) after two defensive tackles in 2017 (Ed Oliver of Houston) and 2018 (Williams).

Leatherwood will be honored as the recipient of the 2020 Outland Trophy on Jan. 13 in Omaha at a dinner hosted by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee and sponsored by Werner Enterprises.

A backbone on the left side of top-ranked Alabama’s line, Leatherwood is the best lineman on the season’s best team to date. The Crimson Tide has consensus All-Americans at quarterback, running back and wide receiver this season – some of the credit must start up front where its left tackle is providing protection for the nation’s second-highest scoring offense at 48.2 points per game that is also fifth in passing at 349.3 yards per game and sixth in total offense averaging 535.0 yards per game.

He has an overall blocking grade of 91.1 by the Alabama coaching staff having given up two sacks and three quarterback hurries this season. Leatherwood and Alabama center Landon Dickerson were co-winners of the SEC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the league’s top linemen. He was a First Team choice on all four All-America teams by the organizations that decide consensus status and can become a unanimous selection from the Walter Camp Foundation tonight. Named a permanent team captain by the Alabama players last month, the Bama coaches honored him as well making Leatherwood one of their four Offensive Achievement Award winners having earned their Player of the Week selection four times, including after last week’s Rose Bowl playoff semifinal.

Leatherwood’s ability was on display that night in Bama’s 31-14 win over Notre Dame. The Crimson Tide racked up 437 yards, averaging 5.6 yards per carry on the ground en route to 140 rushing yards. His protection allowed quarterback Mac Jones to complete 25-of-30 passes for 297 yards and four touchdowns on the day. In Monday night’s National Championship against Ohio State, Leatherwood and the Alabama front faces perhaps the best defensive line they’ve seen yet this season.

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 the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1800s. The Outland Trophy is the third-oldest award in major college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award.

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 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America 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.

Related links:
• Preseason Watch List | Semifinalists | Finalists
• All-time Outland Trophy winners, candidates
• Download 75th Anniversary Outland Trophy logo: Primary (.jpg) | Dark background (.jpg) | Illustrator (.ai)

FWAA announces finalists for 2020 Outland Trophy

OMAHA – Offensive tackles whose teams will face each other in a College Football Playoff semifinal and one of the nation’s top defensive tackles were named as the three finalists for the 2020 Outland Trophy by the Football Writers Association of AmericaLiam Eichenberg, an offensive tackle for Notre Dame’s top-20 rushing offense, and Alex Leatherwood, an offensive tackle on one of the nation’s top offenses at top-ranked SEC champion Alabama, join Daviyon Nixon, an Iowa defensive tackle who led all interior linemen in tackles for loss, as this season’s superior interior linemen.

The Outland Trophy is awarded annually to the nation’s best college interior lineman on offense or defense. The All-America Committee of the Football Writers Association of America selected the three finalists from among the six semifinalists announced last week.

The recipient of the 75th Outland Trophy will be announced during ESPN’s The Home Depot College Football Awards on Jan. 7, 2021. The official presentation to the winner by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee is still to be determined.

A closer look at each of the finalists, with a note that Eichenberg and Leatherwood will oppose each other in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One on Jan. 1, 2021 in a College Football Playoff Semifinal.

Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame (6-6, 302, Gr., Cleveland, Ohio): Eichenberg anchors a talented offensive front that was third in the ACC and 11th nationally in rushing offense at 235.0 yards per game in leading the Fighting Irish to a 10-1 season. The Irish were third in the ACC in fewest sacks allowed per game (2.09, and 23 total). Eichenberg’s efforts helped Notre Dame produce a 1,000-yard rusher in Kyren Williams, and three different running backs had 100-yard games for a combined nine 100-yard days in 11 games. The Irish topped 500 total yards four times this season. Eichenberg was named the ACC’s Offensive Lineman of the Week twice, and his protection at left tackle helped quarterback Ian Book to set a school record with 266 consecutive passing attempts without an interception. Notre Dame has had three Outland Trophy winners, the most recent being defensive end Ross Browner in 1976 (also guard Bill Fischer in 1948 and tackle George Connor in 1946). In 2017 guard Quenton Nelson was a finalist and offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey was a semifinalist.

Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama (6-6, 312, Sr., Pensacola, Fla.): Leatherwood’s qualification is simple: he’s regarded as the best offensive lineman on the nation’s best offense that continues to post record marks in an 11-0 season. Alabama’s 52 points in its SEC Championship Game win marks the third straight game for the Tide to top 50 points and Leatherwood’s protection at left tackle helped quarterback Mac Jones set SEC Championship Game records for yards (418) and completions (33). Alabama has scored 35 or more points in 24 consecutive games, the longest streak in major-college football history, and averages 49.7 points per game. Leatherwood has an overall blocking grade of 90.8 by the Alabama coaching staff and has graded out at a team-high-tying 99.6 on all assignments. Running back Najee Harris (1,262 yards, 5.90 ypc) has 24 rushing touchdowns, the second-most in Alabama history. Leatherwood was named a permanent team captain by his Crimson Tide teammates as well as one of four Offensive Achievement Award winners by the coaches. Four of Alabama’s five previous Outland winners have been offensive tackles – Cam Robinson (2016), Barrett Jones (2011), Andre Smith (2008) and Chris Samuels (1999) – as well as five of the Tide’s last seven finalists.

Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa (6-3, 305, Jr., Kenosha, Wis.): This is the first career postseason honor for Nixon, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the year and Defensive Lineman of the Year who tied for the conference lead with 5.5 sacks on a team that has won six straight games after an 0-2 start. In just eight games played Nixon led the nation among defensive tackles with 13.5 tackles for loss, clogging the middle on an Iowa defense that was second in the Big Ten in total defense (313.8 ypg), third in scoring defense (16.0) and rushing defense (107.6) and fourth in pass defense (206.1). Nixon is tied for third in tackles for the Hawkeyes with 45 and 22 solos. He opened the season with seven tackles at Purdue and then posted a career-high 11 against division champion Northwestern, and his 71-yard interception return for a touchdown at Penn State remains on network highlight packages. The Hawkeyes have had four Outland winners in their past, most recently offensive tackle Brandon Scherff in 2014. Offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs was a semifinalist last season. Offensive tackle Robert Gallery (2003), tackle Alex Karras (1957) and guard Calvin Jones (1955) are the school’s other winners.

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 the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1800s. The Outland Trophy is the third-oldest award in major college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award.

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.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,200 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.

Related links:
• Preseason Watch List | Semifinalists | Finalists
• Download 75th Anniversary Outland Trophy logo: Primary (.jpg) | Dark background (.jpg) | Illustrator (.ai)

2020 Outland Trophy semifinalists unveiled

Six standout interior linemen tabbed by FWAA

OMAHA — Six semifinalists for the 75th Anniversary Outland Trophy – five offensive linemen and one defensive tackle – were announced Monday by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee. The semifinalists include two teammates and are players from five schools at four different positions representing three different conferences.

The Outland Trophy is awarded annually to the nation’s best college interior lineman on offense or defense. The All-America Committee of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) selected the semifinalists from nominations by the membership.

The field for the 2020 Outland Trophy is as follows: guard Wyatt Davis of Ohio State, center Landon Dickerson of Alabama, offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg of Notre Dame, guard Kenyon Green of Texas A&M, offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood of Alabama and defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon on Iowa.

The six semifinalists will be pared to three finalists on Dec. 22. The recipient of the 75th Outland Trophy will be announced during ESPN’s The Home Depot College Football Awards on Jan. 7, 2021. The official presentation to the winner by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee is still to be determined.

Here is a closer look at each of the semifinalists:

Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State (6-4, 315, Jr., Bellflower, Calif.): Davis is at the forefront of an offensive line that guides one of the country’s most explosive offenses. The Buckeyes in five games played are fourth nationally in scoring offense at 46.6 points per game and sixth nationally in total offense at 536.4 ypg while leading the Big Ten in rushing at 233.2 ypg. The interior protection by Davis, a second-team FWAA All-American last year, has been stellar as Justin Fields moved to fourth in the nation in quarterback efficiency while completing 79 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns against only three interceptions. Ohio State has four Outland winners in its past, started off by guard Jim Parker in 1956. Middle guard Jim Stillwagon (1970) and offensive tackles John Hicks (1973) and Orlando Pace (1996) have won it since. Center Billy Price is the Buckeyes’ most recent semifinalist in 2017.

Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama (6-6, 325, Sr., Hickory, N.C.): Dickerson, a Florida State transfer, has made the most of his only season calling the blocking assignments up front for the Crimson Tide. Alabama is third nationally in scoring at 49.2 points per game – tops among schools playing five of more games – and has averaged 548.3 yards per game (4th nationally) while topping 500 yards in six of nine games. Setting things up front each play, Dickerson has helped Alabama establish national leaders at all three skill positions. The Crimson Tide claims two of the last four Outland winners, one on each side of the ball. Quinnen Williams, a defensive tackle, won in 2018, and offensive tackle Cam Robinson won the 2016 award. Alabama has not had a center win the Outland but Barrett Jones was a finalist in 2012 after winning the Outland as an offensive tackle in 2011, and center Ryan Kelly was a semifinalist in 2015. Alabama’s five Outland winners are tied with Oklahoma for the second-most all-time (Nebraska, 9).

Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame (6-6, 302, Gr., Cleveland, Ohio): Eichenberg anchors a talented offensive front that currently leads the ACC in fewest sacks allowed per game (1.67, and 15 total) while also second in the ACC in rushing offense (229.7 ypg). Three different running backs have totaled seven 100-yard games this season and ball control has allowed the Irish to only trail for 38:10 minutes out of a total 540 minutes of regulation. Eichenberg’s protection has given quarterback Ian Book the extra time to attempt 237 passes without an interception, tied for the longest stretch among FBS signal-callers. Notre Dame has had three Outland winners, the most recent being defensive end Ross Browner in 1976 (also guard Bill Fischer in 1948 and tackle George Connor in 1946). In 2017 guard Quenton Nelson was a finalist and offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey was a semifinalist.

Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M (6-4, 325, So., Humble, Texas): Green has led the Aggies into national prominence by allowing quarterback Kellen Mond to set school passing records while also paving the way for an underrated running attack. He’s the best among an offensive line which is fifth in the nation and leads the SEC allowing just 0.5 sacks per game and 4.0 total on the season. The line’s 4.0 TFL’s allowed per game is also top-10 nationally as Mond has set six career passing records, including wins as a quarterback. Texas A&M has an Outland winner from 2012 in offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, and offensive tackle Jake Matthews was a finalist in 2013.

Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama (6-6, 312, Sr., Pensacola, Fla.): At times the Crimson Tide offense is so fast and fluid you can miss watching the guys up front that make it so. Leatherwood has been a standout in protection as well as blocking, allowing quarterback Mac Jones to rank in the top 10 nationally of nearly every passing statistic. The Crimson Tide has scored 35 or more points in 22 consecutive games, the longest streak in major-college football history. Four of Alabama’s five previous Outland winners have been offensive tackles – Cam Robinson (2016), Barrett Jones (2011), Andre Smith (2008) and Chris Samuels (1999) – as well as five of the Tide’s last seven finalists.

Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa (6-3, 305, Jr., Kenosha, Wis.): In just seven games, Nixon leads the Big Ten with 5.0 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in his first season on the Iowa front. His 36 tackles are tied for the most among Big Ten defensive linemen. Nixon opened the season with seven tackles at Purdue and then posted a career-high 11 against division champion Northwestern, and his 71-yard interception return for a touchdown at Penn State remains a national season highlight. The Hawkeyes have four Outland winners in their past, most recently offensive tackle Brandon Scherff in 2014. Offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs was a semifinalist last season. Offensive tackle Robert Gallery (2003), tackle Alex Karras (1957) and guard Calvin Jones (1955) are other winners.

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 the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1800s. The Outland Trophy is the third-oldest award in major college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award.

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.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,200 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.

 

Oregon’s Sewell wins 2019 Outland Trophy

ATLANTA — Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell was named the recipient of the 74th Outland Trophy on Thursday night during The Home Depot College Football Awards from the College Football Hall of Fame.

The 2019 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 influenza (flu) prevention. Getting vaccinated each year is your best first line of defense against flu.

Sewell is the first Outland Trophy winner from Oregon and the third consecutive sophomore to receive the prestigious award. Sewell is just the eighth winner from a Pac-12 school and the third since 2000. He was selected by the All-America Committee of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) from three finalists, including Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown and Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz. The Ducks had two previous finalists in Jake Fisher (OT, 2014) and Haloti Ngata (DT, 2005).

The official presentation to the winner will be made at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases Outland Trophy Award Dinner sponsored by Werner Enterprises on Jan. 15, 2020 in Omaha, Neb.

The 6-6, 325-pound true sophomore originally from Malaeimi, American Samoa and then Desert Hills High School in St. George, Utah, showed his dominance at left tackle early in the season. He was the Outland Trophy Offensive Player of the Month for September as the Ducks became the Pac-12’s third-leading offense (26th nationally) behind quarterback Justin Herbert. In 466 pass-blocking snaps this season, Sewell allowed just seven quarterback pressures and no sacks. He had eight games without allowing a pressure, hit and hurry on the quarterback.

Sewell is the top-graded offensive lineman at any position by Pro Football Focus, which gave him a national-best 95.5 run-blocking grade and a 92.2 in pass-blocking, second nationally. The Pac-12 named him its Offensive Lineman of the Week award four times.

Oregon (11-2) is 16-3 over the last two seasons with Sewell in the starting lineup and heads to its fourth Rose Bowl appearance since 2010 and eighth overall on Jan. 1, 2020, where it will take on Wisconsin.

Former University of Pittsburgh tackle Mark May, the 1980 Outland Trophy winner, has served as the 2019 Outland Trophy #FightFlu ambassador on behalf of NFID. May is making media appearances on behalf of the NFID #FightFlu public awareness campaign to remind everyone age six months and older to get vaccinated annually against flu.

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 25 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 burden, causes, prevention, diagnosis, 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, Ext. 140)

On the web
OutlandTrophy.com, FootballWriters.com, nfid.org/flu

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

Related links:
• All-Time Outland Trophy winners, finalists
Download high-resolution Outland Trophy logo for editorial use

The best defense wins championships and helps fight the flu

By Bob Herzog

Even in this age of offense-driven football at all levels, many coaches still embrace the adage that “defense wins championships.” That saying could easily apply to influenza (better known as flu) prevention.

“The first line of defense against the flu is for everyone age 6 months and older to get vaccinated annually,” said Marla Dalton, CAE executive director and CEO of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID). NFID wants everyone to know that flu can be serious—even for healthy people, flu-related complications can result in hospitalization and even death. Unfortunately, flu vaccination rates in the United States continue to fall short of public health goals, both for football players and the public at large.

To promote the importance of flu prevention, NFID is in the second year of a sponsorship of the Outland Trophy, awarded each season to the nation’s best college football interior lineman. The NFID and the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) have joined forces in a national campaign (#FightFlu) to remind football fans and players to get vaccinated every year. They have even recruited former Outland Trophy winners Joe Thomas (Wisconsin, 2006), Barrett Jones (Alabama, 2011) and Mark May (Pittsburgh, 1980) for a public service campaign to remind football fans of the importance of annual flu shots.

“We provide free flu shots for the varsity football team and coaching staff. But it’s hard to get 90 men to come in to get a shot,” said University of Rhode Island (URI) head athletic trainer Andy Llaguno. “Why? Because they are scared of the needle! They’ll say, ‘No, I don’t want any part of it.’ We highly encourage them to do it, but participation has not been as good as we’d like it.”

Llaguno attributed college football players’ reluctance to get flu shots, despite medical evidence that it most definitely helps, to common myths about the flu shot. According to Llaguno, “Some of them think they will get the flu from the shot. The other thing is that they’re just scared of needles.”

Mark May, the 1980 Outland Trophy recipient from Pitt, shown here getting his annual flu shot, will be the 2019 spokesperson for the Outland Trophy presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID).

Flu vaccines are made with flu viruses that are either weakened or killed, and only broken up parts of the killed virus are included in the vaccine. Therefore, the flu vaccine cannot cause the flu. And for those who are afraid of needles, flu vaccine is available as a nasal spray. The pain associated with flu is much worse than the pain of a needle.

Llaguno worked with the football programs at Penn State, Boston College and West Virginia before coming to URI and said, “It was absolutely very similar there. The difference is that at a place like Penn State, the coaching staff does have a little more influence to make sure the players get the shots.”

If football players studied the history of the flu as much as they study their playbooks, getting vaccinated would be a no-brainer.

A lengthy 2018 story in The Athletic detailed how a world-wide flu pandemic struck in 1918, during World War I, decades before a flu vaccine became available. Roughly one-third of the world’s population was infected and an estimated 50 million people died from the flu.

So even though the declared co-national champions Michigan and Pittsburgh played only five games because of the war and quarantines related to the flu scare, sports historian S.W. Pope told The Athletic that the 1918 season, “effectively helped transform the game of college football. It became a national sport.”

Joe Thomas, the 2006 Outland Trophy recipient from Wisconsin, shown here getting his annual flu shot, was the 2018 spokesperson for the Outland Trophy presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID).

Thanks to flu vaccines that have been publicly available in the United States for more than 50 years, flu vaccination has prevented millions of illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths.

But NFID reminds us that the flu is still a serious illness, and vaccines don’t work if they sit on the shelf. Though the very young and very old are most vulnerable, even healthy football players and coaches are at risk. The acronym, FACTS (Fever, Aches, Chills, Tiredness, and Sudden Onset), helps remind people of the symptoms of flu.

NFID supports the ‘Take 3’ approach to flu prevention recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): 1) Get a flu vaccine each year, 2) practice healthy habits—cover coughs and sneezes, wash your hands, and stay home if you are sick; and 3) take flu antiviral drugs if prescribed.

Limiting contact with others, however, is exactly the opposite of what football players do. So football and the flu continue to converge. In September of 2009, more than 40 University of Wisconsin football players showed flu-like symptoms the week leading up to the Badgers’ game against Fresno State. They all suited up for a double-overtime victory, but one starter played only briefly before leaving the game with an illness. It was later reported that some of the team got infected by a rare swine flu virus. All recovered within a week, according to news reports.

That fall, football teams at Washington State, the University of Mississippi, Tulane and Duke also were hit hard by the flu, further raising awareness of flu and its symptoms and treatment.

The Ravens defeated the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game, staying at a hotel in Providence instead of Boston, which had declared a state of emergency because of the flu outbreak which affected some Patriots’ players that week.

You would think such incidents would make it an easy sell for athletic trainers to convince football players to get vaccinated against flu. But in many instances, that is not the case.

“Even these big, tough guys are still afraid of needles,” Llaguno said of his Rhode Island Rams. “In some ways it’s comical, but it’s not funny that we haven’t gotten the participation that we want. It is getting better though. We started with a dozen players, got it up to a couple of dozen last year, and we’re hoping for more than 60 percent this year.”

After all, the best way offense in combatting the disease is a good defense.

(Bob Herzog retired from Newsday in 2018 after a 46-year career as a sportswriter and editor. He lives in Rhode Island, where he teaches at URI.)

2019 Outland Trophy watch list unveiled

83 players get consideration for nation’s top interior lineman

DALLAS — The Football Writers Association of America has announced the preseason watch list for the 2019 Outland Trophy presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. This season’s list presents a rare wide-open field following the departure of all eight Outland Trophy semifinalists from a year ago and the return of only one FWAA All-American, offensive tackle Calvin Throckmorton of Oregon. The Ducks, along with Michigan, top the list with four selections among the 83 standout interior linemen representing all 10 Division I FBS conferences and independents.

This is the second year of a partnership with the NFID to present the Outland Trophy as part of a public awareness campaign focused on the importance of influenza (flu) prevention during the 2019-20 flu season. The award honoring the top interior lineman in college football will continue to be selected by the FWAA membership and has been rebranded as the Outland Trophy presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases with a social media hashtag of #FightFlu.

Throckmorton, a senior from Bellevue, Wash., was a second-team FWAA All-American and is the lone member of the 2018 FWAA All-America Team on either interior line to return this season. He is joined by three teammates, center Jake Hanson, guard Shane Lemieux and defensive tackle Jordon Scott. Michigan has four members of its offensive front on the list – center Cesar Ruiz, guards Michael Onwenu and Ben Bredeson, and tackle Jon Runyan. Georgia has three players and 15 other schools have two representatives on the list of standouts.

University of Pittsburgh All-American Mark May, the 1980 Outland Trophy winner, will serve as the Outland Trophy #FightFlu ambassador for the upcoming season. May will make media appearances on behalf of the #FightFlu public awareness campaign to remind people to get their annual flu shots.

The recipient of the 74th Outland Trophy will be announced during ESPN’s The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 12, live from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. The official presentation to the winner will be made at the NFID Outland Trophy Awards Dinner sponsored by Werner Enterprises and produced by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee on Jan. 15, 2020. Up to eight semifinalists will be named on Nov. 20 in Omaha and three finalists for the award will be announced on Nov. 25.

Candidates may be added or removed during the season. The distribution of watch list candidates is spread well among the conferences, with the Big Ten and SEC leading the way with 13 each. The Big 12 and Pac-12 are just behind with 12 apiece, followed by the ACC with 10 as well as the American Athletic (6), Independents and Mountain West (4 each), and Conference USA, Mid-American and Sun Belt (3 each). The list includes 32 offensive tackles, 19 defensive tackles, 18 guards and 14 centers.

2019 OUTLAND TROPHY PRESENTED BY NFID PRESEASON WATCH LIST (83)
OT Trey Adams, Washington OG Shane Lemieux, Oregon
OT Hakeem Adeniji, Kansas DT Ray Lima, Iowa State
OL Tremayne Anchrum, Clemson OT Walker Little, Stanford
OG Jack Anderson, Texas Tech OT Abraham Lucas, Washington State
OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville DL James Lynch, Baylor
C Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin DT Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M
DT Ross Blacklock, TCU DT Garrett Marino, UAB
DT Quinton Bohanna, Kentucky OT Colton McKivitz, West Virginia
OG Parker Braun, Texas OG John Molchon, Boise State
OG Ben Bredeson, Michigan C Jimmy Morrissey, Pitt
DT Derrick Brown, Auburn OT Thayer Munford, Ohio State
OL Jake Brown, UCF DT Larrell Murchison, N.C. State
C Levi Brown, Marshall DT Lorenzo Neal, Purdue
C Cohl Cabral, Arizona State OT Jake Nelson, Nevada
OT Brady Christensen, BYU OT Lucas Niang, TCU
OT Ezra Cleveland, Boise State OT Marcus Norman, USF
DT Doug Costin, Miami OG Michael Onwenu, Michigan
OT Coy Cronk, Indiana OT Miles Pate, WKU
OG Navaughn Donaldson, Miami DT John Penisini, Utah
OT Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame OT Benjamin Petrula, Boston College
OG Jovahn Fair, Temple C Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
DT Leki Fotu, Utah OT Jon Runyan, Michigan
DT Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma DT Jordon Scott, Oregon
C Jake Hanson, Oregon C Zach Shackelford, Texas
C Bryce Harris, Toledo OL Josh Sills, West Virginia
C Nick Harris, Washington OG John Simpson, Clemson
OT Charlie Heck, North Carolina OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
OT Justin Herron, Wake Forest OG Logan Stenberg, Kentucky
C Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma OT Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn
OT Robert Hunt, Louisiana OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
OL Keith Ismael, San Diego State OT Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon
OT Alaric Jackson, Iowa DT Khyiris Tonga, BYU
C Jordan Johnson, UCF OG Tre’Vour Wallace-Sims, Missouri
OT Victor Johnson, Appalachian State C Darryl Williams, Mississippi State
OT Josh Jones, Houston DT Raequan  Williams, Michigan State
OG Luke Juriga, Western Michigan OT Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama
OG Kirk  Kelley, Troy OL Isaiah Wilson, Georgia
OL Solomon Kindley, Georgia DT Marvin Wilson, Florida State
DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina DT Robert Windsor, Penn State
OG Tommy Kraemer, Notre Dame OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
OG Gus Lavaka, Oregon State C Dustin Woodard, Memphis
OG Alex Leatherwood, Alabama

By conference: Big Ten 13, SEC 13, Big 12 12, Pac-12 12, ACC 10, American Athletic 6, Independents 4, Mountain West 4, Conference USA 3, Mid-American 3, Sun Belt 3.

By position: Offensive Tackles 32, Defensive Tackles 19, Offensive Guards 18, Centers 14.

Tackles, guards and centers are eligible for consideration Candidates may be added or removed during the season

The Outland Trophy winner is chosen from three finalists who are a part of the annual FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the entire membership, selects a 26-man first team and eventually the three Outland finalists. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner. Only interior linemen on offense or defense are eligible for the award; ends are not eligible.

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 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about the NCFAA.

The Outland Trophy, now in its 74th year, 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.

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, diagnosis, 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 Matt Fortuna of The Athletic, 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
OutlandTrophy.com, FootballWriters.com, nfid.org/flu

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

Related links:
Download high-resolution Outland Trophy logo for editorial use

 

Alabama’s Quinnen Williams wins 2018 Outland Trophy

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

 

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

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