DALLAS (FWAA) – Texas offensive lineman Justin Blalock,
West Virginia center Dan Mozes and Wisconsin offensive tackle
Joe Thomas have been named finalists for the 61st Outland
Trophy, which is awarded to the best interior lineman in college
winner of the Outland Trophy, as selected by the Football Writers
Association of America, will be announced on Dec. 7 during the ESPN
College Football Awards Show from the Walt Disney World Resort in
Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Blalock, who has played guard and tackle, will seek to become
the fourth Longhorn to win the award, but the first in nearly 30
years. Previous Texas winners are Scott Appleton (1963), Tommy Nobis
(1965) and Brad Shearer (1977).
West Virginia and Wisconsin have never produced an Outland Trophy
winner in their football histories.
Wisconsin's Thomas, a 6-8, 306-pound from Brookfield,
Wis., has appeared in 47 games,
including 38 starts. He has overcome ACL knee surgery last January
after filling in on the defensive line in the Capital One Bowl Game
against Auburn. But this season he has been the mainstay for an
offense which has produced the top freshman runner in college football, P.J. Hill., on a team which finished
the regular season 11-1 and lost
only to Michigan.
Blalock, at 6-4, 329-pound senior from Plano, Texas, hasn't allowed a sack in 26 games for
Texas (9-2). He had started 44 straight games at right tackle, but
was moved to right guard for the last five games because of an injury
to another UT lineman. Of Texas' 22 rushing touchdowns this season,
16 have been behind Blalock, whose 49 straight starts match the
school record of 1996 Outland Trophy finalist, Dan Neil.
Mozes, a 6-4, 290-pound senior from Washington, Pa., is a four-year starter, and anchors a
Mountaineer offensive line which has paved the way for the Big East
Conference's most prolific rusher, sophomore Steve Slaton. Mozes
is one of the key movers on the line, and is a non-stop worker for
a once-beaten West Virginia team, which ranks second in the country
in rushing offense, total offense and scoring offense.
The Outland Trophy, which has been awarded by the FWAA since
1946, is named after the late John Outland, a lineman at Pennsylvania
at the turn of the century. The Outland Trophy is the third oldest
award in major college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell
The official award presentation will be Jan. 11 in Omaha, Neb.,
at a banquet sponsored by the Omaha Sports Committee. Notre Dame's
Bill Fischer, the third Outland Trophy winner in 1948, is expected
to receive his trophy there as well.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit
organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 900 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 gameday operations,
major awards, a national poll and its annual All-America team.
For more information on the Outland Trophy, go to the official
or contact FWAA executive director Steve Richardson (972-713-6198
||SEC, Sun Belt
||South Bend Tribune
||MAC, Notre Dame
||Des Moines Register
||Newport News Daily Press