DALLAS (FWAA) – Three finalists for the 2023 Outland Trophy – offensive tackle Joe Alt of Notre Dame, Kansas State guard Cooper Beebe and Texas defensive tackle T’Vondre Sweat – were announced Tuesday by the Football Writers Association of America.
The 2023 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 finalists.
The recipient of the 2023 Outland Trophy will be announced on The Home Depot College Football Awards, live on ESPN on Dec. 8 from 7-9 p.m. ET. The official presentation to the winner 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. 10, 2024.
Alt and Sweat each have three previous Outland Trophy winners at their respective schools but neither has had a player hoist the award since 1977. Beebe is Kansas State’s first Outland Trophy finalist.
Here is a glance at the three finalists:
Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame (#76, 6-8, 322, Jr., North Oaks, Minn.): One of the steadiest players in the country, Alt is the second-ranked offensive tackle in the nation per Pro Football Focus having given up just one sack and four quarterback pressures among 368 pass blocking assignments this season. The team captain has guided the Notre Dame front to produce the ninth-best scoring offense (39.1 ppg, its best mark since 1912) and Alt has assisted in making running back Audric Estime (1,341 yards) just the 13th Notre Dame player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Last Saturday at Stanford, Alt and the offensive line paved the way for 381 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground with Estime rushing for 238 yards and four scores to set the Irish record (18 rushing touchdowns) for a single season. The Irish averaged 7.9 yards per rush as a team and the line surrendered no sacks. Alt was the Outland Trophy National Player of the Week following the Sept. 16 win over Central Michigan in which the Irish gained 578 total yards and 236 rushing yards.
Notre Dame has a rich history with the Outland Trophy with three previous winners – defensive end Ross Browner (1976), guard Bill Fischer (1948) and tackle George Connor (1946). The Irish have recent finalists in offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg (2020) and guard Quenton Nelson (2017).
Cooper Beebe, G, Kansas State (#50, 6-4, 335, Sr., Kansas City, Kan.): Beebe is K-State’s first Outland Trophy finalist and is also a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, the National Football Foundation’s so-called “Academic Heisman.” Beebe is a much-decorated player as last season’s Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year and a two-time First Team All-Big 12 awardee (2021, 2022) while expecting a third. Beebe is the backbone of a Kansas State offense that has scored at least 38 points in nine of its last 13 regular-season contests dating back to last season. Last Saturday against Iowa State in the snow, K-State ran a school-record 102 plays from scrimmage and held the ball for more than 42 minutes. Their 497 total yards moved this season’s Wildcats into the school’s top-10 all-time in four single-season offensive categories. The Wildcats average 199.7 rushing yards per game, the 15th-best mark nationally. Beebe had a string of 1,042 pass blocking plays without a sack end four weeks ago, a 36-game streak dating back to 2020. Beebe was the Outland Trophy National Player of the Week following the Oct. 14 win over TCU that saw the ‘Cats gain 587 total yards.
T’Vondre Sweat, DT, Texas (#93, 6-4, 362, Sr., Huntsville, Texas): Known for his quickness despite a large, imposing frame, in 12 games this season Sweat has established career highs with 40 total tackles, 16 solo tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss and two sacks, one of which came in the critical win at Alabama. Sweat provides intense pressure from the interior – he has four pass breakups at the line and a blocked kick from the middle – leading Texas to the best mark nationally in third-down defense, allowing foes to convert only 26.3 percent of their opportunities. Sweat has posted four of more tackles in six of the 12 games including a career-high seven against BYU, and at least half of tackle for loss in nine of the 12. Texas held four consecutive opponents – Houston, BYU, Kansas State and TCU – under 100 rushing yards recently, its longest such streak since 2018. They’ve done it six times this season.
Texas has three previous Outland Trophy winners in its past but none since 1977. Defensive tackle Brad Shearer was the choice that year, preceeded by lineman Tommy Nobis in 1965 and tackle Scott Appleton in 1963. The Longhorns’ last finalist was defensive tackle Malcolm Brown in 2014, with offtensive tackles Justin Blalock (2006) and Leonard Davis (2000) ahead of guard Dan Neil (1996) also as past finalists. Like Sweat, every one of Texas’ previous semifinalists, finalists or winners was a Texas native.
The Outland Trophy, celebrating 78 years since its founding, 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. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA includes college football’s most prestigious awards and its 24 awards have honored more than 900 recipients dating back to 1935. This season, 12 NCFAA awards will honor national players of the week each Tuesday. For more information about the NCFAA and its award programs, visit the redesigned NCFAA.org or follow on Twitter at @NCFAA.
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The Greater Omaha Sports Committee, founded in 1977, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, consisting of more than 1,300 men and women from the City of Omaha, the State of Nebraska, and others. The Committee serves to communicate, develop, initiate and promote sports activities in the Greater Omaha sports area. In addition to the Outland Trophy Award Events and Dinner, the Greater Omaha Sports Committee promotes high school, college, and professional sports in the Greater Omaha area and the Midwest. For more information contact Bob Mancuso Jr., Chairman at email@example.com or see showofficeonline.com.
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 at firstname.lastname@example.org.