OMAHA, Neb. – Two Southeastern Conference football players – Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio and Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews – have been named semifinalists for the 2013 Outland Trophy during a reception hosted by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee on Tuesday evening.
The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), in a call of its 2013 All-America Committee, has determined the following six players as semifinalists for the 2013 award: Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh defensive tackle; Kouandjio, Alabama offensive tackle; Matthews, Texas A&M offensive tackle; Cyril Richardson, Baylor offensive guard; Bryan Stork, Florida State center; and David Yankey, Stanford offensive guard.
The field for the Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the best interior lineman in college football on offense or defense, will be reduced to three in the next week. Those finalists will be announced on Nov. 25 and featured on ESPN the following evening at 5:30 p.m. ET. The winner of the 68th Outland Trophy will be revealed on Thursday, Dec. 12 on ESPN during the The Home Depot College Football Awards from the Dance Hall on the Disney Boardwalk in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Last year's winner and the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, was the Aggies' first Outland winner and now is on the roster for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Alabama has had multiple winners, including the 2012 winner Barrett Jones, who played several spots on the offensive line for the Tide's recent national championship teams and is now a rookie on the St. Louis Rams' roster.
Kouandjio, 6-6, 310-pound junior from Hyattsville, Md., is one of the mainstays on the Crimson Tide's offensive line that has produced an Outland Trophy winner or finalist the past two seasons. The unbeaten Crimson Tide, possibly headed for a third straight national title, has scored 50 touchdowns and averaged 38.8 points per game.
Matthews, a 6-5, 305-pound senior from Missouri City, Texas, actually moved over to Joeckel's left tackle spot this season and has been the main protector for Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel now that Joeckel is in the NFL. Matthews is a returning FWAA All-American from a year ago.
The Outland Trophy, which has been awarded annually by the FWAA since 1946, is named after the late John Outland, an All-American lineman at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1900s. The Outland Trophy is the third-oldest award in major college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award.