LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (FWAA) – Iowa offensive
tackle Brandon Scherff accepted the 69th
Outland Trophy as the nation's best interior lineman
during The Home Depot College Football Awards
on Thursday night at the Disney Boardwalk.
Scherff, a 6-5, 320-pound senior, became the fourth Hawkeye to win
the Outland Trophy after Calvin Jones (1955), Alex Karras (1957)
and Robert Gallery (2003). Only players from Nebraska (eight different
ones, nine total) and Oklahoma (five) have won more Outland Trophies
than Iowa, with Ohio State players also claiming four.
"I am honored to be part of this," Scherff said. "Family
members, coaches and teammates pushed me to be the best I could
be. It was a goal to become the best lineman in the country. All
that hard work. It's hard to believe it. It just shows you it
can pay off."
Also in the audience at the Dance Hall were Auburn center Russ
Dismukes and Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown, the other two
2014 Outland finalists. Former Pittsburgh offensive lineman and
ESPN college football analyst Mark May, the 1980 Outland Trophy
winner, made the on-stage presentation to Scherff, the fourth offensive
tackle in the last five years to win the award.
Going into Iowa's Taxslayer Bowl game against Tennessee on Jan.
2, Scherff has started 25 straight games for the Hawkeyes. In all
he has played in 43 games and started 35 of them. He has been a
strong leader in all four seasons that he has played in Iowa City.
Iowa, 7-5, ranks 68th in scoring offense (28.3 ppg) and 66th in
total offense (398.3 ypg). At left tackle, he has been rock solid
this season for the Hawkeyes who have traditionally produced good
"Brandon came back for his senior year with a mission to prove,
and I think he has done that," said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz,
who was also the Hawkeyes' head coach when Gallery claimed the honor.
"From a leadership standpoint, having a guy play at an NFL level
on a college playing field has been important to our football team.
The toughness he brings, the attention to detail, the physical nature
of his play, he's pretty special . At the end of the day it is all
on the tape. The tape doesn't lie, he is the best.
"His enjoyment is evident in his approach and how he plays every
day. The way he plays in every practice, in games, the way he prepares,
the way he trains; if you don't think this guy is enjoying himself,
you're probably not paying attention."
Scherff, an all-sports star from Denison, Iowa, a town of a little
more than 8,000 people in the western part of the state, actually
played quarterback in the lower grades and at the beginning of his
high school career. He finally switched to tight end mid way through
his junior year and then to the offensive line his senior season
in preparation to go to Iowa.
"I didn't come back for my senior year because of the Outland,"
said Scherff, who notes Denison is also the hometown of the late
Academy Award-winning actress Donna Reed. "But I started thinking about it toward
the end of the season."
There's a tie among Scherff, Gallery and also the 1987 Outland
Trophy winner, Chad Hennings from Air Force. They are the only three
native Iowans to win the Outland. And they have all been coached
by Reese Morgan, the current defensive line coach at Iowa and Hennings'
former high school coach. Morgan recruited both Gallery and Scherff
to Iowa and was previously the Hawkeyes' offensive line coach.
"I'd say I have no regrets at all," said Scherff, about coming
back for his senior season. "I play smarter, faster. And obviously
you get more time to study film and just go out and play football."
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 in the late 1800s. It is the third oldest
player award in major-college football behind the Heisman Trophy
and Maxwell Award.
For the 18th consecutive year, the presentation banquet of the
Outland Trophy will occur in Omaha on Jan. 15, 2015, at a banquet
sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee. At the same banquet,
Notre Dame's Ross Browner, the 1976 winner, will receive an Outland
Trophy. The Downtown Omaha Rotary Club has provided trophies to
Outland winners prior to 1988, the year the FWAA began giving out
The first Tom Osborne Legacy Award will also be presented at
the dinner. Osborne, the legendary former Nebraska coach, will hand
the award off to Milt Tenopir, who coached six Outland winners with
the Cornhuskers. The Osborne Legacy Award will recognize a coach
or player who made contributions to the Outland Trophy or interior
line play in college football; or a former lineman who made great
contributions to the game through charity or community work.
The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College
Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA encompasses
the most prestigious awards in college football. The 21 awards boast
nearly 700 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit ncfaa.org
to learn more about our story.
The Football Writers Association of America,
a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of 1,400 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 email@example.com or 214-870-6516.
The Greater Omaha Sports Committee, founded
in 1977, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, consisting of more
than 300 men and women from the City of Omaha and the State of Nebraska.
The membership serves to communicate, develop, initiate and promote
sports activities in the Greater Omaha sports area.
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