AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

Oregon's Penei Sewell Named Nation's Best Interior Lineman

The best players in football are offensive and defensive lineman. And yes, I am saying that as a washed-up lineman myself. While quarterbacks and wide receivers score highlight-reel touchdowns, offensive lineman only get noticed for their mistakes. As for defensive lineman, the big dogs on the inside eat up blockers while pass rushers and linebackers gobble up the glory.

That's exactly why Dr. John Outland, a two-time All-American in the late 1800s at the University of Pennsylvania, established the Outland Trophy. Dr. Outland "believed linemen did not get the credit they deserved and wanted an award to recognize them," which sounds even more beautiful than this rendition of "Amazing Grace."

What is the Outland Trophy?

The Outland Trophy is awarded to the best interior lineman in college football. Since its creation in 1946, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) presents the award as part of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). Of the 25 awards presented in conjunction with the NCFAA, the Outland Trophy is the third-oldest award in college football.

Past Outland Trophy Winners

Since Notre Dame's George Connor won the first Outland Trophy in 1946, the list of winners is full of both College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame members along both the offensive line and defensive line.

Iowa's Alex Karras (1957), USC's Ron Yary (1967), Maryland's Randy White (1974), Nebraska's Dave Rimington (1981 & 1982), Boston College's Mike Ruth (1985), Ohio State's Orlando Pace (1996), Wisconsin's Joe Thomas (2006), LSU's Glenn Dorsey (2007), Pittsburgh's Aaron Donald (2013), Stanford's Joshua Garnett (2015), Alabama's Cam Robinson (2016), and Houston's Ed Oliver (2017) have taken home the Outland Trophy.

In July, the FWAA announced the 2019 Outland Trophy watch list consisting of 83 interior linemen across 10 Division I FBS Conferences and independents. Oregon and Michigan led the way with four players each, while Georgia had three linemen named to the initial watch list.

On November 20, six semifinalists for the 2019 Outland Trophy were revealed.

Outland Trophy Semifinalists

Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
John Simpson, G, Clemson
Andrew Thomas, OT, Clemson
Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

Last year's Outland winner was former Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, who burst on the college football scene in 2018. Williams beat out fellow Alabama teammate Jonah Williams and Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins for the top honor. Williams became the No. 3 overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft by the New York Jets.

Ahead of the annual Home Depot College Football Awards Show on December 12, three finalists for the Outland Trophy were released. The offensive linemen factory at Wisconsin saw its fifth Badger be nominated, Oregon's best offensive tackle along arguably the NCAA's best offensive line earned a nod, and the lone defender is one of college football's best players regardless of position.

Outland Trophy Finalists

Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin

Facts to Know: 38-straight starts; Two-time First-Team All-Big Ten selection

AP Photo/Mark Lomoglio

Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

Facts to Know: 2019 SEC Defensive Player of the Year; 43 tackles, 9 TFL, 4.0 sacks this season

AP Photo/Vasha Hunt, File

Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

Facts to Know: First-Team All-Pac 12; True sophomore allowed six QB pressures and one sack

AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

The recipient of the 74th Outland Trophy will be announced on December 12 live on ESPN in Atlanta, Georgia. Mark May, 1980 Outland Trophy winner and former University of Pittsburgh tackle, is the Outland Trophy #FightFlu ambassador, which raises awareness for annual flu vaccinations in conjunction with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID).

At the annual Home Depot College Football Awards show, Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell was named the 2019 Outland Trophy winner, making him the first Duck to take home the honor.

Oregon's Penei Sewell Wins Outland Trophy

An official presentation will be made at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases Outland Trophy Award Dinner in Omaha, Nebraska on Jan. 15, 2020.

This post was originally published December 10, 2019. It was updated after Penei Sewell was announced as Oregon football's first-ever Outland Trophy winner.

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