LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (FWAA) Alabama offensive tackle Barrett Jones was named the 66th winner of the Outland Trophy on Thursday night, becoming the third Crimson Tide player to win the award and second in the last four seasons.
The FWAA selects the Outland Trophy winner from interior linemen on its 25-man All-America team, which will be announced on Saturday. Jones claimed the trophy over Penn State senior defensive tackle Devon Still and Stanford junior guard David DeCastro.
Jones, a 6-5, 311-pound junior from Memphis, Tenn., follows previous Outland Trophy winners from Alabama, offensive tackles Chris Samuels (1999) and Andre Smith (2008). In 2011, Jones was one of the most versatile and productive linemen in the game. He has started 10 games at left tackle, but has also played right tackle, center and left guard. The only interior offensive line position he did not play in 2011 for the Crimson was right guard. Before this season, he had started 25 games at the position during the 2009 and '10 seasons.
"It was kind of fun, it was definitely a challenge," Jones said. "I watched a lot of film. Playing all those positions gave me a greater understanding of the schemes and concepts of the entire offensive line. It helped me understand the big picture better."
Jones spearheads the blocking effort for Heisman Trophy finalist running back Trent Richardson, who led the Southeastern Conference with 1,583 yards rushing and 23 total touchdowns. During his career, Jones has blocked for 25 individual 100-yard rushing performances, including nine this season.
"(Richardson) is an unbelievable player," Jones said. "The biggest honor you can get is for your running back to win the Heisman. It happened with (Mark Ingram in 2009) and we're hoping it will happen with Trent (Richardson). Trent is so strong, probably the strongest guy I've ever seen in the weight room. And he's so fast. I owe a lot to No. 3. He makes me look good on a regular basis."
In 2011, Jones allowed just three sacks all season at left tackle, despite routinely facing the opposing team's top pass rusher. Jones has faced seven of the nation's top 51 defenses and has graded out at 87 percent, including 100 percent in four games. He has registered 20 "pancake" blocks 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 in the early 20th century. The Outland Trophy is the third oldest award in major college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award.
The official 2011 Outland Trophy presentation will be Jan. 12, 2012, in Omaha, Neb., at a banquet sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee. At the same event, former All-America Minnesota defensive lineman Bobby Bell will receive an Outland Trophy. He was the 1962 winner of the award before trophies were handed out by the FWAA.
Three days before the Outland Trophy banquet, Jones and his Crimson Tide will meet LSU in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans. The game is a rematch of a 9-6 Alabama loss to LSU in overtime in Tuscaloosa, Ala., earlier this season.
"When we lost to them before, we thought it (Alabama's national championship hopes) were over," Jones said. "In the back of our minds, we were hoping to get another shot, so we're really excited about this next shot. It's a great feeling to get another chance. We feel like we deserve to be there."
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization
founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,200 men and women 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 and its annual All-America
team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve
Richardson at email@example.com or 972-713-6198.
The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA 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, visit the association's official Web site, ncfaa.org.