Michigan's Oluwatimi wins 2022 Outland Trophy

DALLAS (FWAA) – Michigan center Olusegun Oluwatimi was named the recipient of the 77th Outland Trophy on Thursday night during The Home Depot College Football Awards. The Outland Trophy is awarded annually to the nation’s best college interior lineman on offense or defense. Oluwatimi is the Wolverines’ first Outland Trophy winner.

Olusegun OluwatimiOluwatimi, a 6-3, 307-pound senior from Upper Marlboro, Md., was selected by the All-America Committee of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) from three finalists that also included Pitt defensive tackle Calijah Kancey and Northwestern offensive tackle Peter Skoronski. Oluwatimi is the first center to win the Outland Trophy since 2005 (Minnesota’s Greg Eslinger) and the third winner from the offensive line of the last four seasons. He is the first winner from a Big Ten school since 2014 (Iowa offensive tackle Brandon Scherff).

The official presentation to Oluwatimi will be made at the Outland Trophy Awards Dinner sponsored by Werner Enterprises and produced by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee in Omaha, Neb., on Jan. 11, 2023. Prior to that, Michigan (13-0) faces TCU (12-1) in the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl as part of the semifinals of the College Football Playoff.

Both parties had already earned multiple honors following the 2021 season that made for a ripe opportunity last spring when Oluwatimi elected to transfer to Michigan as a graduate student. The Wolverines won the Joe Moore Award as the nation’s top offensive line last season at the same time Oluwatimi finished 2021 as a second-team member of the FWAA All-America team at center.

In 2022, Oluwatimi has started all 13 games at center following 32 consecutive starts at Virginia and helped lead Michigan to historic heights with its first back-to-back Big Ten titles since 2003-04. Its offensive line was never better than in the regular season finale at Ohio State, a 45-23 win that clinched the repeat title, as Michigan outrushed the Buckeyes 242-19 in the second half and prompted backup starter Donovan Edwards’ 216 yards and two touchdowns in the dramatic victory.

Michigan leads the Big Ten and ranks sixth nationally in rushing offense at 243.0 yards per contest. The line’s prowess with Oluwatimi in the middle is almost unmatched. The Wolverines average 5.6 yards per carry (5th among FBS) and surpassed 200 rushing yards in nine of 13 games, including more than 250 in five of their last seven. Michigan running back Blake Corum, the Big Ten’s Running Back of the Year, is a finalist for the Doak Walker Award after earning the bulk of Michigan’s 38 rushing touchdowns that trail only Tennessee (39) among FBS schools.

Michigan has only 206 negative yards on the ground this season, with 107 of those yards coming on 13 opponent sacks leaving only 99 yards lost on pure rushing attempts. The Wolverines are second in the Big Ten and tied for 11th nationally in fewest sacks allowed (1.0 pg) despite playing one additional game than the bulk of the field.

Oluwatimi is the latest among Michigan’s fine offensive lineman regarding the Outland Trophy. He became the Wolverines’ fourth all-time finalist last month and their first in 15 seasons since offensive tackle Jake Long in 2007, ahead of center David Baas in 2004 and offensive tackle Greg Skrepenak in 1991. David Molk, also a center, was Michigan’s last offensive lineman to earn FWAA All-America status in 2011.

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 college football’s most prestigious awards. The NCFAA’s 25 awards have honored more than 800 recipients since 1935. Visit NCFAA.org for more information.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.