Football Writers Association of America Nov. 24, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Richardson
Three standouts touted for nation's top interior lineman

DALLAS (FWAA) – Ole Miss offensive tackle Michael Oher, Oklahoma guard Duke Robinson and Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith have been named finalists for the 63nd Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the best interior lineman in college football by the Football Writers Association of America.


The winner of the Outland Trophy will be announced on the evening of Dec. 11 during "The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show" at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The show, hosted by ESPN’s Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit, airs from 7:30-9:30 p.m. ET.

Oher, a 6-5, 318-pound senior from Memphis, Tenn., has started 45 straight games for the Ole Miss Rebels (7-4), who defeated LSU, 31-13, last Saturday and could be in line for a bid to the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. The subject of a book, "The Blind Side: The Evolution of a Game," depicting his ascension from impoverished beginnings, Oher was named the Southeastern Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week after Ole Miss beat Louisiana-Monroe, 59-0, this season. Ole Miss is third in the SEC in rushing, with Oher helping pave the way. He is the first finalist for the award to come from Ole Miss.

Robinson, a 6-5, 335-pound senior from Atlanta, Ga., anchors the line for one of the most prolific offenses in college football at Oklahoma. The Sooners (10-1) throttled Texas Tech, 65-21, last Saturday and moved into serious contention for the national title. Oklahoma is third in the country in total offense and passing offense. Robinson, who is considered the Sooners' best offensive lineman, is expected to be the first guard taken in the 2009 NFL Draft, but he also can play tackle. He is also looking to become the Sooners' sixth winner of the Outland.

Smith, a 6-4, 330-pound junior from Birmingham, Ala., probably won’t be around for his senior season. On the way to probably his second straight Jacobs Blocking Trophy (best blocker in the SEC), Smith anchors the offensive line for the top-ranked Crimson Tide (11-0). He has allowed only one sack all season. From his left tackle spot, Smith is projected to be the top player taken overall in the 2009 NFL Draft by at least one scouting service. Only once before has an Alabama player won the Outland (Chris Samuels in 1999).

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 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 Award.

The official 2008 award presentation will be Jan. 15, 2009, in Omaha, Neb., at a banquet sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee. A past Outland Trophy winner will also receive his trophy there.

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of nearly 1,000 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.

The Outland Trophy is a proud member of the National College Football Awards Association, 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 on the NCFAA, visit

For more information on the Outland Trophy, go to the official website,, or contact FWAA executive director Steve Richardson (972-713-6198 or

Related links:
• Official site ( | All-time Outland winners
• National College Football Awards Association (
• (for logo/photo downloads)