DALLAS (FWAA) For their outstanding individual performances in leading one of the country's top offenses and defenses, Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown and Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas have earned Outland Trophy National Player of the Month honors for October, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America and presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID).
The Outland Trophy, presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, is awarded annually to the nation's best interior lineman. NFID's involvement with the trophy is intended to increase awareness about flu prevention. This is the second season for the FWAA to select national players of the month.
Brown, a 6-5, 318-pound senior from Sugar Hill, Ga., has tackle statistics that have progressively improved, parlayed into an outstanding October. He had seven tackles at LSU on Oct. 26 and five against Mississippi State and at Florida the two prior weeks. Despite only a three-game month, almost half (17) of his 37 total tackles (fourth on Auburn's defense) came in October. In a five-game September, he had but 13 tackles. On the season, Brown has eight tackles for 42 yards of losses and with 4.0 sacks.
Brown started October well with five tackles, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and a sack Oct. 5 at Florida. Despite Auburn's 24-13 loss, he earned the second of his three SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors. He now has 151 career tackles, 29.0 TFL and 13.0 sacks.
Auburn's defensive front has been dominant with Brown plugging the middle, but also on the stat sheets. The Tigers have at least five TFL's in every game this season and their 64.0 TFL's are tied for 19th nationally (tied for the SEC lead). The Tigers lead the league with 7.1 TFL's per game in SEC play.
Thomas, a 6-5, 320-pound junior from Lithonia, Ga., is the eldest starting member of the Georgia offensive line and one of three Outland Trophy Watch List members on the roster, along with fellow junior Solomon Kindley at left guard and right tackle Isaiah Wilson.
Thomas has been the stalwart on the left side this season protecting quarterback Jake Fromm, continually grading at 90 percent or above on the Pro Football Focus scales. The outstanding play up front has yielded plenty of results. Georgia is second in the SEC with 222.4 rushing yards per game, with the bulkiest line in school history, averaging 6-5 and 328.6 pounds. The Bulldogs were third in the SEC through October with 36.0 points per game and are tied for tops in the nation (with Air Force) by yielding only 4.0 sacks this season.
The Bulldogs are the only FBS team to have four different players go over 1,000 yards rushing during the 2017 and '18 seasons, and this season D'Andre Swift is closing in on another with 760 yards and seven touchdowns. He is averaging 6.8 yards per carry and 11.4 yards per catch on 13 receptions. Led by Thomas, the line play helped earn Swift the SEC's Offensive Player of the Week after a 179-yard rushing game Oct. 19 against Kentucky, his career-high. Thomas has been the SEC's Offensive Lineman of the Week twice.
Brown's Tigers host Thomas' Bulldogs in a key SEC game next Saturday, Nov. 16.
The recipient of the 74th Outland Trophy will be announced during ESPN's The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 12, live from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. The official presentation to the winner will be made at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases Outland Trophy Award Dinner sponsored by Werner Enterprises on Jan. 15, 2020 in Omaha, Neb. Up to seven semifinalists will be named on Nov. 20 and three finalists for the award will be announced on Nov. 26.
Former Pitt offensive tackle Mark May, the 1980 Outland Trophy winner, is serving as the Outland Trophy #FightFlu ambassador on behalf of NFID. May is making media appearances on behalf of the #FightFlu public awareness campaign to remind everyone 6 months and older to get an annual flu vaccine.
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.
About the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
Founded in 1973, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating the public and healthcare professionals about the burden, causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of infectious diseases across the lifespan. Visit nfid.org for more information.
About the Football Writers Association of America
Founded in 1941, the non-profit Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) consists of more than 1,300 members, including journalists, broadcasters, publicists and key executives in all areas of college football. Led by current President Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times, longtime Executive Director Steve Richardson, and a board of veteran journalists, the association continues to grow and work to help college football prosper at all levels. Visit footballwriters.com for more information about the FWAA and its award programs.