2023 Outland Trophy Preseason List
2023 Outland Trophy Preseason Watch List
The Football Writers Association of America 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.
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.
Photo – OT Joe Alt – Notre Dame by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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.
Frank Coyle is a long-time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long-time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards – Heisman, Biletnikoff, Thorpe, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi etc for the past 25 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a consultant to many NFL player agents related to all levels of preparation for the NFL Draft process. He was a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year-round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.
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.
Following is the complete 2023 Outland Trophy Watch List.
2023 Outland Trophy Preseason Watch List
G Isaiah Adams, Illinois OT Taliese Fuaga, Oregon St OT Jordan Morgan, Arizona
OT Joe Alt, Notre Dame OT X’Zauvea Gadlin, Liberty C Drake Nugent, Michigan
OT Kelvin Banks Jr., Texas G AJ Gillie, Louisiana DT Jaheim Oatis, Alabama
OT Graham Barton, Duke OT Matt Goncalves, Pitt DT Ruke Orhorhoro, Clemson
OT Cooper Beebe, Kansas State OT Joshua Gray, Oregon St G Justin Osborne, SMU
G Cade Bennett, San Diego State DT Mike Hall Jr., Ohio State C Thor Paglialong, Air Force
OT Cade Beresford, Boise State OT Makai Hart, UTSA OT Patrick Paul, Houston
DT Jordan Bertagnole, Wyoming C Gus Hartwig, Purdue G Lokahi Pauole, UCF
G Keaton Bills, Utah OT Christian Haynes, UConn OT Micah Pettus, Ole Miss
G Tyler Booker, Alabama C Sincere Haynesworth, Tulane G Prince Pines, Tulane
DT Brandon Brown, UTSA C Isaiah Helms, App State OT Nolan Potter, NIU
OT Jeremiah Byers, Florida St DT Tonka Hemingway, South Carolina G Deiyantei Powell-Woods, Central Michigan
OT Will Campbell, LSU C Bryan Hudson, Louisville DT Keith Randolph Jr., Illinois
DT James Carpenter, James Madison G Jarrod Hufford, Iowa State G Tate Ratledge, Georgia
DT Kendy Charles, Liberty DT Jaylon Hutchings, Texas Tech DT Kennedy Roberts, Coastal Carolina
DT Elijah Chatman, SMU DT McKinley Jackson, Texas A&M DT Justin Rogers, Auburn
C Duke Clemens, UCLA G Donovan Jackson, Ohio St OT Nick Rosi, Toledo
G Javion Cohen, Miami DT Kris Jenkins, Michigan G Keylan Rutledge, Middle Tennessee
OT Josh Conerly Jr., Oregon G Matthew Jones, Ohio State OT Jonah Savaiinaea, Arizona
DT Dontay Corleone, Cincinnati OT Emery Jones Jr., LSU OT Clay Servin, Rice
G Khalil Crowder, Georgia Southern G Trevor Keegan, Michigan DT Nazir Stackhouse, Georgia
C Ethan Crowe, Ball State OT Nick Kidwell, James Madison OT Kingsley Suamataia, BYU
DT Jaden Crumedy, Mississippi State G Jarrett Kingston, USC DT Junior Tafuna, Utah
DT Tyler Davis, Clemson OT JC Latham, Alabama C Sedrick Van Pran, Georgia
C Justin Dedich, USC OT Sataoa Laumea, Utah G Mose Vavao, Fresno State
OT Olu Fashanu, Penn State G Quantavious Leslie, WKU DT Deone Walker, Kentucky
OT Troy Fautanu, Washington OT KT Leveston, Kansas State DT Daymond Williams, Buffalo
G Connor Finucane, Army C Beaux Limmer, Arkansas G Bucky Williams, App State
OT Blake Fisher, Notre Dame G Christian Mahogany, Boston College DT Mekhi Wingo, LSU
OT Javon Foster, Missouri DT Fish McWilliams, UAB G Zak Zinter, Michigan
C Zach Frazier, West Virginia
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.