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

 

President’s column: It’s the most wonderful time of the year

By Matt Fortuna

A funny thing happens every Fourth of July at my in-laws’ cookout. And no, I’m not talking about my cousin annually rigging the family cornhole tournament in his favor.

2019 FWAA President Matt Fortuna

Sure, it is the peak of summer; who doesn’t love food, family, fireworks and fun? But the conversations for me — and I’m sure for most of you — inevitably shift to college football season. It turns out that when a majority of your family has graduated from two of last year’s Playoff schools (but, alas, not the two finalists), it is never too early to start the hype machine, and the questions are aplenty.

For those of us in the FWAA, Independence Day is a reminder that our summers are darn near over, and that that is perfectly fine if you are fortunate enough to make a living writing about this great sport.

It may be hard to believe, but media days — our preseason — are upon us. Four of the five Power conferences will hold their annual kickoff events next week across the country, and the FWAA will be out and about at each of them — along with the Pac-12 the following week — looking to spread the word about our message.

We recently announced our new access/press relations committee, a collaborative effort between a talented and experienced group of writers and media relations pros who will help ensure a healthier dialogue between the media and the schools that they cover.

We will celebrate the 75th anniversary of our All-America Team this season, with a sponsor that will be announced Aug. 31 in conjunction with the Auburn-Oregon game in Arlington, Texas.

We will name our 63rd Coach of the Year, with Coach Eddie Robinson serving as the namesake of the award since the 1997 season. We will name our 74th Outland Trophy recipient, with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) serving as the presenting sponsor for a second straight year.

We will select the 27th FWAA Defensive Player of the Year (Bronko Nagurski Trophy) in 2019, with the presentation being hosted by the Charlotte Touchdown Club for a 25th straight year. And we will partner with Shaun Alexander for a second straight year to name a Freshman of the Year. We will announce an additional sponsor for that award and the 2019 FWAA Freshman All-America Team soon.

It is membership season — or #SZN, as the recruits of today would tweet — and we ask that you join or renew by July 12 to guarantee your inclusion in the 2019-20 FWAA print directory. It takes less than three minutes to join here, and your active membership will grant you access to everything on collegepressbox.com once the new and expanded site is unveiled this summer.

This really is the most wonderful time of the year — when us in the Midwest can enjoy our brief period of sunshine, when Notre Dame and Oklahoma fans can gather ‘round the grill and resist temptation to insult each other, and, most importantly, when all of us in the press can get back to doing what we love.

Nominations sought 2019 Armed Forces Merit Award

FORT WORTH, Texas — Nominations are now being accepted for the 2019 Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America.

Armed Forces Merit Award

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 or a group with a military background and/or involvement impacting college football.”

Nominations for the 2019 Armed Forces Merit Award will be accepted through October 1. At that time, a selection committee of five FWAA members and two representatives from the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl will review the list of candidates. The 2019 recipient will be announced on Veteran’s Day, November 11.

“We are pleased to join with the Football Writers Association of America to honor an individual with a military background or group that works with our armed services that has an impact within college football,” said Brant Ringler, the Executive Director of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.

FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson echoed Ringler’s sentiments, adding that the group “has an outstanding list of candidates each year, making it difficult to honor only one recipient when there are several individuals and programs so very deserving of the honor.”

From among 56 nominations considered for the 2018 award, Robert Morris President and Air Force veteran Dr. Chris Howard was selected as the seventh recipient of the Armed Forces Merit Award. A 1991 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Dr. Howard was a Rhodes Scholar and received the 1990 Campbell Trophy, the highest academic award in the nation presented to a senior college football player by the National Football Foundation.

To nominate an individual or group for the Armed Forces Merit Award, please click on the link below for the nomination form, which should be completed and returned to:

Tim Simmons
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
9655 Yellowstone Road
Longmont, CO 80504

Armed Forces Merit Award Nomination Form.

 

FWAA Launches New ‘Access/Press Relations Committee’

DALLAS — The Football Writers Association of America is establishing a new Access/Press Relations Committee to oversee press relations with FBS Conferences moving into the 2019 football season.

This is a broad-based effort by the FWAA to improve press relations and accessibility with schools in terms of coach, assistant coach and player availability during the regular season and the off-season.

“We are excited to bring together a talented, experienced, and diverse group of reporters and SIDs to work together to ensure a healthier dialogue between the media and the schools that they cover,” said Matt Fortuna, 2019 FWAA President. “Our hope is that this collaborative effort will lead to better opportunities to tell the stories of the subjects that we cover, while giving our members a better platform to highlight good and bad practices when it comes to access.”

The FWAA will have two representatives for each of the Power Five Conferences, in which many of the issues arise in terms of accessibility. The Group of Five Conferences/Independents will have three representatives. In addition, there will be nine at-large committee members from different groups affiliated with college football.

The process would be for individual FWAA members to report to the representatives of their conference any issues in their league as brought up by Sports Information Directors or FWAA members. This process will also occur with bowl games. The Committee would attempt to keep a running record of incidents reported to them and try to improve conditions as well as commend outstanding access and conditions.

“In many ways this can also be a learning experience on both sides,” said Steve Richardson, FWAA Executive Director. “We can document thoroughly why a school would or wouldn’t be a Super 11 winner simply by comparing a school’s list of press availability or polices to the FWAA’s list of standards. If there are complaints about media members, these also will be considered by the Committee. It can be a two-way street here.”

The discussions will also extend to game-day: press box conditions, interview area conditions, press parking issues and safety concerns around and in the stadium. The committee could have running dialogues with schools where problems in access occur and coverage conditions are questionable.

This committee will help in the decision making for the FWAA’s annual Super 11 Awards, which honor outstanding Sports Information Departments each year. Committee members will be encouraged to interact with Sports Information Directors in their respective conferences during the course of the year.

FWAA ACCESS/PRESS RELATIONS COMMITTEE

SEC

  • Ron Higgins, Rivals
  • Anthony Dasher, UGASports.com

ACC

  • Gene Wang, Washington Post
  • Andrea Adelson, ESPN.com

Big 12

  • Randy Peterson, Des Moines Register
  • John Hoover, TheFranchiseOK.com

Pac-12

  • Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News
  • Chris Dufresne, TMG

Big Ten

  • Adam Rittenberg, ESPN.com
  • Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune

Group of Five/Independents

  • Chris Vannini, The Athletic
  • Dick Weiss, Blue Star Media
  • Mark Anderson, Las Vegas Review-Journal

At-Large

  • Edward Aschoff, ESPN.com, FWAA
  • Matt Fortuna, The Athletic, FWAA
  • George Schroeder, USA Today, FWAA
  • Doug Vance, CoSIDA
  • Shelly Poe, Auburn
  • Dave Plati, Colorado
  • Vince Thompson, AFCA
  • Gine Lehe, CFP
  • Doug Kelly, FBA

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,000 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com or call 214-870-6516.

 

National Football Foundation asks FWAA members to vote on 2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class

The National Football Foundation has decided this year to provide each FWAA member a complimentary ballot for the 2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class, encouraging you to vote and then write about your selections. Please vote and share your perspective with your readers. Ballots must be submitted by June 21.

  • Click here to access your electronic ballot to vote.
  • Click here to read a pdf version of the NFF Footballetter with bios of the candidates.

 

Super 11 Recipients Announced for 2018 season

DALLAS — Four first-time winners and seven previous ones comprise the 10th Annual Super 11 Awards, which the Football Writers Association of America gives out annually to the best performing sports information departments in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The awards announced this week are for the 2018 season.

In addition, for the first time the FWAA will present a Super 11 Coach of the Year Award. Arizona State Coach Herm Edwards granted outstanding access to his program during the 2018 season.

“These 11 sports information departments have done an outstanding job of not just fulfilling the needs of media members, but of understanding the importance of strong working relationships between programs and the reporters who cover them,” 2019 FWAA President Matt Fortuna said. “Additionally, Coach Edwards went above and beyond the norm in his first season at Arizona State, a refreshing approach that we feel deserves special recognition.”

As for the 2018 SID department awards, Clemson, Colorado and Nebraska each won for a sixth time. It was Clemson’s fourth straight award and Colorado’s fifth award in six seasons.

Pittsburgh claimed a Super 11 Award for the fourth time and Navy a third time. Iowa State and Mississippi State each won for the second time.

The four first-time recipients in the award series, which dates back to the 2009 season, are Arizona State, Miami, Fla., UAB and Wisconsin.

This year’s winners were deemed by FWAA observers to have had good accessibility during the week of the game and after the game — with a program’s players, coaches and assistant coaches — along with the other listed criteria.

“That was a special point of emphasis in 2018 and will be again in 2019,” FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson said. “Our membership wants access to players after games, of course, but also for human interest and analytical stories during the week. Over the years, for a variety of reasons this access has been restricted. We believe there are many good stories out there that can be told if they are allowed to be told.”

FWAA members who covered college football during the 2018 season provided input in the awards survey.

In January 2009, the FWAA formed the first Super 11 Committee. The concept has been supported and endorsed by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), many of whom are members of the FWAA. The FWAA has awarded Super 11 to 60 different schools in this program over the years.

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,300 men and women across North America who cover college football for a living. 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, a national poll and its annual All-America teams.

Related link:
Super 11 Awards (including complete selection criteria)

Shaun Alexander/FWAA Freshman of the Year Award calls for big things on, and off, the field

By Mike Griffith

AJC-Dawg Nation

CLEMSON, S.C. — Dabo Swinney was having flashbacks during the Clemson spring football game on Saturday with former Alabama and Seattle Seahawks star Shaun Alexander in attendance.

The 2005 NFL MVP was at the Tigers’ spring game to hand off the inaugural Shaun Alexander/FWAA Freshman of the Year Award to Trevor Lawrence. The trophy is presented by Stand Together, a non-profit organization.

Swinney had some fun at Alexander’s expense when his dynamic tailback, Travis Etienne, bounced a run outside to the head coach’s displeasure.

“You don’t have to hit home runs Shaun!” Swinney yelled in Etienne’s direction with Alexander standing beside him. “Sometimes you have to hit singles!”

Former Alabama and NFL running back Shaun Alexander is greeted by Clemson coach Dabo Swinney at the school’s 2019 spring game. Alexander was there to formally present the first Shaun Alexander/FWAA Freshman of the Year Trophy to Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Photo by Shane Sandefur.

Former Alabama and NFL running back Shaun Alexander is greeted by Clemson coach Dabo Swinney at the school’s 2019 spring game. Alexander was there to formally present the first Shaun Alexander/FWAA Freshman of the Year Trophy to Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Photo by Mike Griffith.

Alexander broke into a grin, knowing the phrase all too well having heard it several times early in his career at Alabama.

Swinney’s coaching career was just lifting off as a graduate assistant under the direction of College Football Hall of Famer Gene Stallings when Alexander signed with the Tide out of Boone County High School in Florence, Ky., and redshirted the 1995 season.

The 1996 season was big for Alexander and Swinney, a coming out party of sorts for both. Swinney was promoted to receivers coach under the direction of then-Tide offensive coordinator Woody McCorvey, who is now Clemson’s associate athletic director for football administration.

Alexander, meanwhile, was competing for playing time in a crowded backfield when he sent shockwaves across the country on Nov. 9, 1996.

Coming off the bench in the second quarter, Alexander took 20 handoffs from then-Alabama QB and now-Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens and gained a school-record 291 yards against LSU, scoring four touchdowns in a 26-0 win over the Bayou Bengals.

Gerry DiNardo, the LSU coach at the time, since turned Big Ten Network lead analyst, remembers recognizing Alexander’s greatness when he watch No. 37 slice through a defense that anchored a 10-2 team.

“I can still remember a play starting toward our bench and then him cutting back, and I remember thinking as I watched that this is a special back,” DiNardo said. “He hadn’t started any games, and we didn’t know much about him.

“Anytime you see a great athlete move forward and contribute to our society, it’s a great story, so what started out for me as a bad memory has turned into a very good thing.”

McCorvey knew he had a pretty good thing in Alexander, but not even he could have anticipated that sort of performance.

“For him to do what he did down in the other Death Valley at LSU in Baton Rouge, 291 yards rushing, that was unbelievable,” said McCorvey, who after seeing Alexander score on his only carry of the first half called Alexander’s number 19 more times in the second half.

“That was just the start of it for Shaun, he was able to finish of a tremendous college career and went on to have a stellar NFL career.”

As much as Alexander excelled on the field, he was an exemplary student-athlete off of it, serving as an Alabama chapter Fellowship of Christian Athletes president in 1999, the same year he was named SEC Player of the Year.

Those good works continued off the field, as Alexander started a family foundation in Seattle to mentor young men before his nine-year NFL career and retirement to the Washington, D.C., area with his wife and nine children.

“Shaun was a great representative of Alabama football, the way he carried himself off the field, and of course what an incredible back he was,” said ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who launched his career on ESPN GameDay in 1996. “I love that the FWAA has come up with an award recognizing a freshman of the year, and how fitting to be able to have a guy like Trevor Lawrence win it in the first year.

“Shaun and Trevor are two great people, two great athletes, and I think we’ll look back at this with Trevor winning a trophy that’s fitting of him and everything he and Shaun represent.”

In addition to the Alexander Trophy, the FWAA Freshman of the Year will receive a gold coin with the following traits displayed on the coin: “Ambassador, Legend, Faith, Passion, Talent, Focus, Character, Leader.”

McCorvey, who mentored Swinney as a receiver and assistant coach and now helps oversee Clemson football, has used many of those same words during his distinguished coaching career.

Former Alabama and NFL running back Shaun Alexander presents the inaugural Shaun Alexander/FWAA Freshman of the Year Trophy to Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The formal presentation occurred at Cloemson’s 2019 spring game. Photo by Shane Sandefur.

“Both Shaun and Trevor exemplify class,” McCorvey said. “When I was a part of Shaun’s career at Alabama, his work ethic and everything he put into being a student-athlete was exemplary.

“It’s the same thing with Trevor since he has been here. He’s been all business, he’s carried himself in the right way, and when he got his opportunity last year he handled it well. For him to win this award and win the national championship, that’s what it’s all about.”

Swinney, his arm around Alexander much of the day, agreed.

“Here’s the cool thing, I was there when you were a freshman, and I am here to see you present this award to this great freshman, Trevor,” Swinney told Alexander. “It’s fitting that he’s the first one, you were an amazing freshman; obviously he was too.

“But the great thing is both of you are great people, both of you have strong faiths. I’m honored Trevor won it and you are here to present it.”
Lawrence, born on Oct. 6, 1999, four days after Alexander scored four touchdowns and tallied 200 total yards in a 40-39 road win over a No. 3-ranked Florida team, was humbled to win the award.

“It’s awesome, obviously Shaun was a great player, so to win his award is an honor,” Lawrence said. “I try to lead by example; you can’t ask anyone to do anything that you’re not willing to do.

“My faith plays a big part in leading people, too, and that’s also leading by example. That’s doing the right thing, not just with the team and in workouts, but off the field, too.”

Alexander, his Alabama rooting interests aside, made it clear he’ll be pulling for Lawrence to continue his greatness on and off the field.

“I wanted someone to win this award whose character and faith and talent matched, and Trevor was that guy,” said Alexander, who chose Lawrence for the award before the Clemson phenom completed 20-of-32 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers’ 44-16 CFP Championship Game win over the Tide.

“I, along with Stand Together and the Football Writers Association of America, will be looking for big things from you in the future on and off the field.”

Photo gallery: Freshman of the Year Award presented to Trevor Lawrence at Clemson spring game

Former Alabama and NFL running back Shaun Alexander formally presented the inaugural Shaun Alexander/FWAA Freshman of the Year Trophy to Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence during Clemson’s spring game on April 6.

UCLA’S Jerry Robinson named 2019 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award recipient

College Hall-of-Famer joins growing list of honored college football legends

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Touchdown Club in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America proudly announces UCLA great Jerry Robinson as the recipient of the 2019 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award presented by Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery, which recognizes outstanding defensive football players from the past 40 years.  The award will be presented formally during the annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Awards Banquet on December 9, 2019.

Jerry Robinson

“Wow!  Just when you think that people have forgotten about those great players from back in the day, I received a phone call from Steve Richardson of the Football Writers Association of America congratulating me on being named the 2019 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award recipient. I was stunned and truly honored to receive this award because I know that Bronko Nagurski was one of the greatest football players ever and the annual award presented in his name goes to the best defensive player in college football,” said Jerry Robinson.

“Because of his many achievements on and off the gridiron, Jerry Robinson is an ideal choice for this year’s Bronko Nagurski Legends Award,” commented Dr. Richard R. Rolle, Jr. of Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery. “Having played college football at the University of Notre Dame under legendary coach Lou Holtz, I understand on a very personal level, the focus, commitment, and hard work it takes to be remembered as one of the game’s all-time greats. Congratulations from the entire staff of Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery to Jerry Robinson on this well-deserved honor.”

Robinson joins a growing list of prestigious Bronko Nagurski Legends Award recipients including: Alan Page, Bubba Smith, Ted Hendricks, Roger Wehrli, Mike McCoy, Jack Youngblood, Larry Jacobson, Randy Rhino, Randy White, Randy Gradishar, Chet Moeller, Ross Browner, and Tom Cousineau.

Jerry Robinson was a star athlete at Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa, California. He captained the football, basketball and track teams. He ran the 100-yard dash in 9.5 seconds and high jumped 6 feet 5 inches. UCLA used him as a wide receiver his freshman year and moved him to inside linebacker just before the Rose Bowl game with Ohio State. As a linebacker Robinson made All-American three times. He was a Consensus choice in 1976, Unanimous in 1977 and 1978. Robinson set a school record for most tackles (28) in a single game against Air Force in 1976. His career total 468 tackles, set a UCLA record. The Downtown Athletic Club of New York named him Linebacker of the Year (Now named the Dick Butkus Award) in 1977 and 1978.) He received the Pop Warner Award as Best West Coast player in 1978. Robinson stood 6-3, weighed 208, and wore jersey No. 84, which UCLA retired. His name and number is displayed in the Ring of Honor at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Robinson was named to the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame, as well as the College Football Hall of Fame. Jerry was also one of only 50 players to be named to The All Century Pac 12 Team.

Robinson was selected in the first round of the 1979 NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He played a total of 13 years in the NFL, six with the Philadelphia Eagles and seven with the Los Angeles Raiders. Robinson’s NFL awards and achievements include: NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year. Participant in Super Bow XV (Philadelphia Eagles vs Oakland Raiders). 1987 Ed Block Courage Award. Four time All-Pro Selection and participant in one Pro-Bowl.

Currently Jerry Robinson is Vice President, Board of Directors for a nonprofit organization called Shoes4kidz and produces a podcast “People Doing Good” which highlights people doing good things in their neighborhoods.

About The Independence Fund
The Independence Fund is a nonprofit organization that empowers our nation’s severely wounded veterans and the caregivers who support them to take control of their lives.  Through its dedicated mobility and treatment programs, the Fund assists veterans in transforming their lives toward a better future  The Independence Fund believes we owe it to our veterans to provide the resources they need to move forward and build a strong foundation toward lasting emotional and physical healing in order to reestablish their independence.  To learn more, visit www.independencefund.org.

About Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery
Dr Richard R. Rolle Jr. is a leading oral & maxillofacial surgeon, with strong ties to athletics and delivering excellence 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.

The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, North Carolina region.  Since its inception, the club has grown as well as diversified boasting a sponsor team of more than (80) companies.  The Club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding Citizenship, Scholarship, Sportsmanship, and Leadership of area athletes and coaches.  Through individual and corporate support, more than $2,000,000 has been raised to benefit the Touchdown Club’s scholarship efforts.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of the men and women across North America who cover college football for a living.  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 David Jones and 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 1,000 members.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards.  The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients.  For more information, visit the association’s official website, www.NCFAA.org.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is presented annually by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America to the nation’s most outstanding NCAA defensive football player at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet in Charlotte, N.C.  All proceeds benefit the Charlotte Touchdown Club Scholarship Fund.  For more information call 704-347-2918 or www.touchdownclub.com.

 

Ryan Day named keynote speaker for 2019 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet

Charlotte, N.C. — The Charlotte Touchdown Club in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America, officially announced today that Ohio State coach Ryan Day will be the keynote speaker for the 2019 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet scheduled for Monday, December 9.

“I am grateful and appreciative the Charlotte Touchdown Club has selected me for the honor of speaking at the 25th Anniversary Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet Monday, December 9th in Charlotte, North Carolina,” Day said. “It will be really special to assist an organization that does so much good in the community for student-athletes, and also honors the top defensive player in America through its partnership with the Football Writers Association of America.”

Ohio State coach Ryan Day

“We’re excited to welcome Coach Ryan Day as the keynote speaker for this year’s Bronko Nagurski Banquet,” said John Rocco, executive director of the Charlotte Touchdown Club. “From playing quarterback at the University of New Hampshire under Chip Kelly to the head football coach at The Ohio State University, Coach Day’s career has been nothing short of remarkable and we all look forward to hearing more about his journey.”

Sometime around 6:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on January 1, 2019, Ryan Day had a whistle placed around his neck by retiring head coach Urban Meyer in front of the team after its 28-23 Rose Bowl Game victory over Washington. The head coaching tenure of Day at The Ohio State University had officially begun.

Technically, Day’s first day on the job was Jan. 2, but that moment in the locker room at the Rose Bowl in front of 124 players, including more than 100 who will be a part of his first team, will have the lasting impact of origination for the 39-year-old from Manchester, N.H., who becomes just the 25th coach for a storied program that ranks second all-time in victories and will play its 130th season of football in 2019.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Day said later on in the locker room. “To be the leader of such a special place, a special group of men, this program, Buckeye Nation … it is an honor!”

Day officially starts his head coaching career with a record of 3-0. He is credited with the wins earned over Oregon State, Rutgers and 15th-ranked TCU at the beginning of the 2018 season when he served about eight weeks in August and September as Ohio State’s acting head coach. He has a five-year contract through the 2023 season that will pay him $4.5 million annually.

A quarterbacks coach for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016 under Chip Kelly and in 2015 for the Philadelphia Eagles under Kelly, Day is in his third season overall at Ohio State and his 18th season as a coach in the NFL or collegiate ranks. He was Ohio State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach the past two seasons.

The impact he has had on the program in such a short time has been considerable.  No school has had more passing touchdowns the past two seasons than the 90 that Ohio State’s quarterbacks have thrown in that time. Ohio State also ranks seventh nationally over the past two seasons in passing yards per game and third in completion percentage.

Ohio State, in Day’s two seasons, has won six championships: back-to-back Big Ten championships; two Big Ten East Division titles; the 2018 Cotton Bowl and this year’s Rose Bowl.

In 2018 Ohio State ranked second nationally in total offense and passing yards, and No. 8 in scoring. It established Big Ten Conference records for offensive yards per game (535.6), passing yards (5,100), passing yards per game (373.0), touchdown passes (51), completions (396) and total plays (1,131).

Individually, quarterback Dwayne Haskins was a Heisman Trophy finalist who became just the sixth player to throw 50 touchdown passes in a season. He was named the Chicago Tribune Silver Football award winner as the Big Ten’s best player and he was also named the Big Ten’s offensive player of the year and its quarterback of the year.

Wide receiver Parris Campbell this year became just the fifth Ohio State receiver to top 1,000 receiving yards in a season, and running back J.K. Dobbins became the first Buckeye to top 1,000 yards rushing as a freshman and sophomore.

Additionally, in 10 of 14 games this year, Ohio State had 500 yards or more of total offense, including 567 against the nation’s top-ranked defense in a 62-39 win against No. 4 Michigan.

Day was Ohio State’s 2018 nominee for the Broyles Award, which goes annually to the top assistant coach in the country.

The 2017 season was Day’s first in Columbus and it also proved to be a success. His starting quarterback, J.T. Barrett, was a finalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Year Award and he was named the Big Ten’s quarterback of the year after a season in which he set seven school single season records and broke the Big Ten Conference career mark for touchdowns responsible for with 147.

Additionally, Ohio State’s offense was fifth nationally in passing efficiency in 2017, sixth in scoring and eighth in total offense, plus it led the Big Ten in rushing, passing efficiency, scoring and total offense.

On the same day that legendary coach Urban Meyer announced his retirement — Dec. 4, 2018 — Day was named to succeed him.

“I am truly honored to be here today and am so appreciative to President Drake and Gene Smith for the faith they have in me to lead this team,” Day said at a packed press conference at the Fawcett Center on Ohio State’s campus. “I love this program and its student-athletes and I want Buckeye Nation to know how hard we are going to work to ensure this program remains the very best in the country.

“I also want to say ‘thank you’ to coach Meyer. His coaching wisdom and his elite ability to motivate and prepare a team is something everyone on this staff not only appreciates, but learns from and carries forward. I am grateful for the two seasons I’ve had as a part of his staff.”

As an NFL quarterbacks coach, Day worked with Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert in 2016 with the 49ers and he helped Sam Bradford to a record-setting 2015 season with the Eagles as he completed 65 percent of his passes – an Eagles single-season record – and threw for 3,725 yards. Both figures were career highs at the time for Bradford.

In addition to his two NFL seasons as a quarterbacks coach, Day has 15 years of collegiate coaching experience, including offensive coordinator positions at Temple and Boston College, as well as positions with Florida — as a graduate assistant under Meyer – and at his alma mater, New Hampshire.

He coached receivers for a year under Al Golden at Temple University (2006) and for five seasons at Boston College (2007-11). Day worked three years as Steve Addazio’s offensive coordinator: in 2012 he ran the offense and coached receivers at Temple and in 2013 and 2014 he was quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Boston College.

In 2014, Day’s Boston College offense ranked second in the ACC and 21st nationally with 254.4 rushing yards per game, and in 2013 Eagle running back Andre Williams rushed for more than 2,000 yards on his way to unanimous All-America honors while being named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.

Day’s Boston College assistant coach experiences — he has coached there on three separate occasions — include the 2007 season when quarterback Matt Ryan threw for over 4,500 prior to becoming the third overall pick in the 2008 draft.

Day is a native of Manchester, NH. He was a three-year starting quarterback at New Hampshire when Chip Kelly was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He was a team captain as a senior and earned his degree in business administration in 2002. He has a master’s in administrative studies from Boston College (2004).

Day, and his wife, Christina, who uses the nickname “Nina,” have three children: Ryan Jr. or “RJ”, Grace and Ourania.

About The Independence Fund

The Independence Fund is a nonprofit organization that empowers our nation’s severely wounded veterans and the caregivers who support them to take control of their lives.  Through its dedicated mobility and treatment programs, the Fund assists veterans in transforming their lives toward a
better future.  The Independence Fund believes we owe it to our veterans to provide the resources they need to move forward and build a strong foundation toward lasting emotional and physical healing in order to reestablish their independence.  To learn more, visit  www.independencefund.org.

About Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery

Dr. Richard R. Rolle Jr. is a leading oral & maxillofacial surgeon, with strong ties to athletics and 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.

About the Charlotte Touchdown Club

The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, North Carolina region.  Since its inception, the club has grown as well as diversified boasting a sponsor team of more than (80) companies.  The Club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding Citizenship, Scholarship, Sportsmanship, and Leadership of area athletes and coaches.  Through individual and corporate support, more than $2,000,000 has been raised to benefit the Touchdown
Club’s scholarship efforts.

About the FWAA

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of the men and women across North America who cover college football for a living.  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.  There are now over 1,000 members.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards.  The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients.  For more information, visit the association’s official website, www.NCFAA.org.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is presented annually by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America to the nation’s most outstanding NCAA defensive football player at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet in Charlotte, N.C.  All proceeds benefit the Charlotte Touchdown Club Scholarship Fund.  For more information call 704-347-2918 or www.touchdownclub.com.