2023 Outland Trophy Watchlist

August 2, 2023 by FWAA

The Football Writers Association of America has announced the preseason watch list for the 2023 Outland Trophy, recognizing 91 returning standout interior linemen representing all 10 Division I FBS conferences and independents. The 2023 season will close with the award's 78th anniversary and the watch list offers a talented field of players alongside two returning FWAA All-Americans.

CollegeFootballPoll.com's Dave Congrove is a nominating member of the Outland Trophy.

The recipient of the 2023 Outland Trophy will be announced on The Home Depot College Football Awards, live on ESPN in December. 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.

The returning FWAA All-Americans, both of them from last season’s Second Team, are offensive tackle Joe Alt of Notre Dame and defensive tackle Tyler Davis of Clemson. Michigan leads the list as the lone team with four selections, three from the offensive line with guards Trevor Keegan and Zak Zinter playing on either side of center Drake Nugent, a Stanford transfer, along with defensive tackle Kris Jenkins. The Wolverines were in the top five nationally last season in the primary rushing categories of yards per carry (3rd, 5.58) and yards per game (5th, 238.9) with 41 rushing touchdowns as they reached the College Football Playoff semifinals.

Defending national champion Georgia leads five schools that have three players represented – center Sedrick Van Pran, guard Tate Ratledge and defensive tackle Nazir Stackhouse. It joins Alabama and LSU, also with three each, to bolster the Southeastern Conference’s league-high 17 selections. LSU defensive tackle Mekhi Wingo tied for the most votes among returning players for last season’s Outland Trophy. Almost half of the SEC’s list – eight of 17 – are defensive tackles.

A trio from Utah heads up a dozen Pac-12 Conference players on the list, second only to the SEC. Utah defensive tackle Junior Tafuna is the only defensive tackle among the Pac-12 players. The Big Ten Conference is third with 11 total led by Michigan’s four and three from Ohio State, a CFP semifinalist last year that has guards Donovan Jackson and Matt Jones back from the nation’s second-best scoring offense (44.2 ppg) joining defensive tackle Mike Hall on the list. Penn State offensive tackle Olumuyiwa Fashanu, who tied Wingo for the highest vote totals from last season’s Outland Trophy tallies, made the list along with two from Illinois, one on each side of the ball.

Notre Dame and Clemson each have a pair on the list with Alt joining Notre Dame offensive tackle teammate Blake Fisher and Davis having Clemson defensive tackle teammate Ruke Orhorhoro alongside him as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s only defensive representatives. Besides Michigan’s Nugent, the ACC has the other two players who are transfers onto their new teams in Florida State offensive tackle Jeremiah Byers (UTEP) and Miami guard Javion Cohen (Alabama).

The Big 12 Conference has 10 players on the list spread among nine different schools, including one each from its four new members at BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF. Kansas State is the lone Big 12 school with two members in offensive tackles Cooper Beebe and KT Leveston.

Other schools with two players on the list are Arizona, Oregon State and USC from the Pac-12, App State and James Madison from the Sun Belt Conference, Liberty from Conference USA and a trio from the newly-expanded American Athletic Conference, SMU, Tulane and UTSA.

The conference breakdown is as follows. Beyond the 17 from the SEC, 12 from the Pac-12, 11 from the Big Ten and 10 from the Big 12, the ACC and American Athletic have eight, the Sun Belt seven, the Mid-American and Mountain West five each, and Conference USA and the Independents with four apiece.

There are 31 offensive tackles on this year’s list with 24 defensive tackles and 24 guards to go with 12 centers. Just under half of the 133 Football Bowl Subdivision schools – 65 – are represented.

The Outland Trophy winner is chosen from three finalists who are a part of the annual FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the entire membership, selects a 26-man first team and eventually the three Outland finalists. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner. Only interior linemen on offense or defense are eligible for the award; ends are not eligible.

Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. For the first time, the FWAA will announce an Outland Trophy National Player of the Week each Tuesday this season. If not already on the watch list, each week’s honored player will be added at that time.

G Isaiah Adams, Illinois OT Joe Alt, Notre Dame
OT Kelvin Banks Jr., Texas OT Graham Barton, Duke
OT Cooper Beebe, Kansas State G Cade Bennett, San Diego State
OT Cade Beresford, Boise State DT Jordan Bertagnole, Wyoming
G Keaton Bills, Utah G Tyler Booker, Alabama
DT Brandon Brown, UTSA OT Jeremiah Byers, Florida State
OT Will Campbell, LSU DT James Carpenter, James Madison
DT Kendy Charles, Liberty DT Elijah Chatman, SMU
C Duke Clemens, UCLA G Javion Cohen, Miami
OT Josh Conerly Jr., Oregon DT Dontay Corleone, Cincinnati
G Khalil Crowder, Georgia Southern C Ethan Crowe, Ball State
DT Jaden Crumedy, Mississippi State DT Tyler Davis, Clemson
C Justin Dedich, USC OT Olu Fashanu, Penn State
OT Troy Fautanu, Washington G Connor Finucane, Army
OT Blake Fisher, Notre Dame OT Javon Foster, Missouri
C Zach Frazier, West Virginia OT Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State
OT X'Zauvea Gadlin, Liberty G AJ Gillie, Louisiana
OT Matt Goncalves, Pitt OT Joshua Gray, Oregon State
DT Mike Hall Jr., Ohio State OT Makai Hart, UTSA
C Gus Hartwig, Purdue OT Christian Haynes, UConn
C Sincere Haynesworth, Tulane C Isaiah Helms, App State
DT Tonka Hemingway, South Carolina C Bryan Hudson, Louisville
G Jarrod Hufford, Iowa State DT Jaylon Hutchings, Texas Tech
DT McKinley Jackson, Texas A&M G Donovan Jackson, Ohio State
DT Kris Jenkins, Michigan G Matthew Jones, Ohio State
OT Emery Jones Jr., LSU G Trevor Keegan, Michigan
OT Nick Kidwell, James Madison G Jarrett Kingston, USC
OT JC Latham, Alabama OT Sataoa Laumea, Utah
G Quantavious Leslie, WKU OT KT Leveston, Kansas State
C Beaux Limmer, Arkansas G Christian Mahogany, Boston College
DT Fish McWilliams, UAB OT Jordan Morgan, Arizona
C Drake Nugent, Michigan DT Jaheim Oatis, Alabama
DT Ruke Orhorhoro, Clemson G Justin Osborne, SMU
C Thor Paglialong, Air Force OT Patrick Paul, Houston
G Lokahi Pauole, UCF OT Micah Pettus, Ole Miss
G Prince Pines, Tulane OT Nolan Potter, NIU
G Deiyantei Powell-Woods, Central Michigan DT Keith Randolph Jr., Illinois
G Tate Ratledge, Georgia DT Kennedy Roberts, Coastal Carolina
DT Justin Rogers, Auburn OT Nick Rosi, Toledo
G Keylan Rutledge, Middle Tennessee OT Jonah Savaiinaea, Arizona
OT Clay Servin, Rice DT Nazir Stackhouse, Georgia
OT Kingsley Suamataia, BYU DT Junior Tafuna, Utah
C Sedrick Van Pran, Georgia G Mose Vavao, Fresno State
DT Deone Walker, Kentucky DT Daymond Williams, Buffalo
G Bucky Williams, App State DT Mekhi Wingo, LSU
G Zak Zinter, Michigan  

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.