Football Writers Association of America Dec. 11, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Richardson
972-713-6198
Junior offensive tackle is second straight winner from the SEC
ALABAMA'S SMITH WINS 2008 OUTLAND TROPHY

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (FWAA) Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith was named the winner of the 63rd Outland Trophy on Thursday night, becoming the second straight Southeastern Conference player to win the award.

Andre Smith

The winner of the Outland Trophy, which goes to the best interior linemen on offense or defense in college football, was announced during The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show from The Walt Disney World Resort.

Smith became the second Alabama player to win the Outland Trophy after the Crimson Tide's Chris Samuels in 1999. LSU's Glenn Dorsey claimed the award a year ago.

The Football Writers Association of America selects the Outland winners from its 25-man All-America team, which will be announced on Saturday afternoon on ABC television. Smith won the Outland over Mississippi offensive tackle Michael Oher and Oklahoma offensive guard Duke Robinson, the other two Outland Trophy finalists.

"I was surprised to hear my name called because either one of those other two guys could have won the award," Smith said after receiving the award. "I think it helped to play on a dominating offensive line like we had, that opened up holes for our running game. I am proud to win this award, though I'd still like to be playing for a national championship."

Smith, a 6-5, 330-pound junior from Birmingham, Ala., has started 13 games at left tackle and has surrendered just one sack. He has helped Alabama (12-1) rank among the Top 25 rushing teams in college football. He was the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week when Alabama rushed for 328 yards against Arkansas. Smith is also projected in some circles, if he elects to come out, to be the No. 1 player to be selected overall in the 2009 NFL Draft.

"There are a lot more guys who get the reputation than actually live up to the billing," said Alabama coach Nick Saban. "He started as a freshman and has improved every year. I don't see them all, and I'm not saying he is better than anybody else, but it's hard for me to think there is any other offensive lineman who has played any better than him this season."

The Outland Trophy, which has been awarded annually 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 Award.

The official 2008 award presentation to Smith will be Jan. 15, 2009, in Omaha, Neb., at a banquet sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee. Oklahoma's J.D. Roberts, the 1953 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 www.ncfaa.org.

For more information on the Outland Trophy, go to the official website, www.outlandtrophy.com, or contact FWAA executive director Steve Richardson (972-713-6198 or tiger@fwaa.com).

Related links:
Official site (outlandtrophy.com) | All-time Outland winners
National College Football Awards Association (ncfaa.org)
collegepressbox.com (for logo/photo downloads)