The Outland Trophy, the nation’s third oldest award in college football behind the Heisman Trophy and the Maxwell Award, has announced the three finalists for year’s award. This award has been awarded to the best lineman since 1946 and is voted on by the Football Writers Association of America. The three finalists are Cyril Richardson, offensive guard at Baylor, Jake Matthews, offensive tackle at Texas A&M and Aaron Donald, defensive tackle from Pittsburgh.
Richardson has been a huge key to the Baylor Bears offensive attack. The Bears use a power running game on the inside with speed on the outside. If the defense spends resources to stop the run, they take advantage of the one on one matchups on the outside with their advantage in speed. If they try to stop the pass, the Bears use their size and power on the inside to attack a defense with fewer opponents in the box. Richardson has been a force with incredible size, strength and athleticism. He has the power to be a bulldozer and the quickness to be a tremendous pass blocker.
Matthews is stand out offensive tackle, protecting the blind side of Johnny Manziel this season in College Station. Matthews is supremely athletic and not only excels at sliding in pass protection, but is light enough on his feet to wrap, which means he will pull from the left tackle spot all the way around the right tackle spot to help the running attack. Matthews also possesses the technique and strength to be a standout blocker both in the passing game and running game.
Donald is not the biggest, strongest, or most athletic defensive lineman in the country. He relies on impeccable technique, quickness and effort to win both from the interior and from the outside as a defensive lineman. Donald has been unbelievably productive for the Panthers defense this season with 26 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 2 pass break ups, and a blocked kick in 11 games.
Congratulations to all of the finalists as all are richly deserving.