OMAHA (FWAA) – Six semifinalists for the
75th Anniversary Outland Trophy – five offensive
linemen and one defensive tackle – were announced Monday by the
Greater Omaha Sports Committee. The semifinalists
include two teammates and are players from five schools at four
different positions representing three different conferences.
Outland Trophy is awarded annually to the nation's best college
interior lineman on offense or defense. The All-America Committee
of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) selected the
semifinalists from nominations by the membership.
The field for the 2020 Outland Trophy is as follows: guard
Wyatt Davis of Ohio State, center Landon
Dickerson of Alabama, offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg
of Notre Dame, guard Kenyon Green of Texas A&M,
offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood of Alabama and
defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon on Iowa.
The six semifinalists will be pared to three finalists on Dec.
22. The recipient of the 75th Outland Trophy will be announced during
ESPN's The Home Depot College Football Awards on Jan. 7, 2021. The
official presentation to the winner by the Greater Omaha Sports
Committee is still to be determined.
Here is a closer look at each of the semifinalists:
Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State (6-4, 315, Jr., Bellflower,
Calif.): Davis is at the forefront of an offensive
line that guides one of the country’s most explosive offenses.
The Buckeyes in five games played are fourth nationally in scoring
offense at 46.6 points per game and sixth nationally in total
offense at 536.4 ypg while leading the Big Ten in rushing at
233.2 ypg. The interior protection by Davis, a second-team FWAA
All-American last year, has been stellar as Justin Fields moved
to fourth in the nation in quarterback efficiency while completing
79 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns against only three
interceptions. Ohio State has four Outland winners in its past,
started off by guard Jim Parker in 1956. Middle guard Jim Stillwagon
(1970) and offensive tackles John Hicks (1973) and Orlando Pace
(1996) have won it since. Center Billy Price is the Buckeyes’
most recent semifinalist in 2017.
Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama (6-6, 325, Sr., Hickory,
N.C.): Dickerson, a Florida State transfer, has made
the most of his only season calling the blocking assignments
up front for the Crimson Tide. Alabama is third nationally in
scoring at 49.2 points per game – tops among schools playing
five of more games – and has averaged 548.3 yards per game (4th
nationally) while topping 500 yards in six of nine games. Setting
things up front each play, Dickerson has helped Alabama establish
national leaders at all three skill positions. The Crimson Tide
claims two of the last four Outland winners, one on each side
of the ball. Quinnen Williams, a defensive tackle, won in 2018,
and offensive tackle Cam Robinson won the 2016 award. Alabama
has not had a center win the Outland but Barrett Jones was a
finalist in 2012 after winning the Outland as an offensive tackle
in 2011, and center Ryan Kelly was a semifinalist in 2015. Alabama’s
five Outland winners are tied with Oklahoma for the second-most
all-time (Nebraska, 9).
Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame (6-6, 302, Gr., Cleveland,
Ohio): Eichenberg anchors a talented offensive front
that currently leads the ACC in fewest sacks allowed per game
(1.67, and 15 total) while also second in the ACC in rushing
offense (229.7 ypg). Three different running backs have totaled
seven 100-yard games this season and ball control has allowed
the Irish to only trail for 38:10 minutes out of a total 540
minutes of regulation. Eichenberg’s protection has given quarterback
Ian Book the extra time to attempt 237 passes without an interception,
tied for the longest stretch among FBS signal-callers. Notre
Dame has had three Outland winners, the most recent being defensive
end Ross Browner in 1976 (also guard Bill Fischer in 1948 and
tackle George Connor in 1946). In 2017 guard Quenton Nelson
was a finalist and offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey was a semifinalist.
Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M (6-4, 325, So., Humble,
Texas): Green has led the Aggies into national prominence
by allowing quarterback Kellen Mond to set school passing records
while also paving the way for an underrated running attack.
He’s the best among an offensive line which is fifth in the
nation and leads the SEC allowing just 0.5 sacks per game and
4.0 total on the season. The line's 4.0 TFL’s allowed per game
is also top-10 nationally as Mond has set six career passing
records, including wins as a quarterback. Texas A&M has
an Outland winner from 2012 in offensive tackle Luke Joeckel,
and offensive tackle Jake Matthews was a finalist in 2013.
Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama (6-6, 312, Sr., Pensacola,
Fla.): At times the Crimson Tide offense is so fast
and fluid you can miss watching the guys up front that make
it so. Leatherwood has been a standout in protection as well
as blocking, allowing quarterback Mac Jones to rank in the top
10 nationally of nearly every passing statistic. The Crimson
Tide has scored 35 or more points in 22 consecutive games, the
longest streak in major-college football history. Four of Alabama’s
five previous Outland winners have been offensive tackles –
Cam Robinson (2016), Barrett Jones (2011), Andre Smith (2008)
and Chris Samuels (1999) – as well as five of the Tide’s last
Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa (6-3, 305, Jr., Kenosha,
Wis.): In just seven games, Nixon leads the Big Ten
with 5.0 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in his first season
on the Iowa front. His 36 tackles are tied for the most among
Big Ten defensive linemen. Nixon opened the season with seven
tackles at Purdue and then posted a career-high 11 against division
champion Northwestern, and his 71-yard interception return for
a touchdown at Penn State remains a national season highlight.
The Hawkeyes have four Outland winners in their past, most recently
offensive tackle Brandon Scherff in 2014. Offensive tackle Tristan
Wirfs was a semifinalist last season. Offensive tackle Robert
Gallery (2003), tackle Alex Karras (1957) and guard Calvin Jones
(1955) are other winners.
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 the University of Pennsylvania in the late
1800s. The Outland Trophy is the third-oldest award in major college
football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award.
The Outland Trophy 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.
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 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating
to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.
Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,300 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
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