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Jake Matthews and Aaron Donald Head 2013 Outland Trophy Semifinalists


Jake Matthews Heads Six Outland Trophy Semifinalists

OMAHA (FWAA) – Six semifinalists for the 2013 Outland Trophy – five offensive linemen and one defensive tackle – were announced this week during a reception hosted by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee.

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; Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama offensive tackle; Jake Matthews, Texas A&M offensive tackle; Cyril Richardson, Baylor offensive guard; Bryan Stork, Florida State center; and David Yankey, Stanford offensive guard.

Photo - OT Jake Matthews - Texas A&M

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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.

Pittsburgh, Alabama and Texas A&M have had previous players claim the Outland Trophy; Baylor, Florida State and Stanford have never produced a winner. 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. Pittsburgh's winner, Mark May (in 1980), is a current ESPN analyst, College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL lineman.

The Current 2013 Outland Candidates

Donald, 6-0, 285-pound senior from Pittsburgh, Pa., has had the most productive season in college football for a defensive tackle. He leads the country in tackles for a loss per game (2.3) by a wide margin and he is tied for sixth in sacks. He also has four forced fumbles. A tackle with great agility, he's often double teamed and even at times tripled teamed.

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.

Richardson, 6-5, 340-pound senior from Fort Worth, Texas, is described as a "dominating drive blocker" in some reviews. He's one of the major reasons Baylor has the nation's top scoring offense. He has played tackle, but moved back to guard these past two seasons. Baylor's rushing game averages just over 300 yards per game, while the Bears are averaging a remarkable 61.2 points per game to lead the nation.

Stork, 6-4, 300-pound senior from Vero Beach, Fla., has played every position on the offensive line and is the top lineman on the No. 2-ranked Seminoles' powerful offense which averages 52.7 points a game. A fifth-year player, he has made 36 career starts.

Yankey, 6-5, 311-pound senior from Roswell, Ga., anchors Stanford's strong offensive line and is a pulling guard for the Cardinal's running game. In Stanford's 26-20 victory over Oregon, it ran the ball on all 17 of its fourth-quarter offensive snaps. He has 35 career starts.

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.

For the 17th consecutive year, the presentation banquet of the Outland Trophy will occur in Omaha. The official 2013 Outland Trophy presentation to the winner will be at a banquet sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee. The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 21 awards boast 678 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,200 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include gameday operations, major awards and its annual All- America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com or 972-713-6198.

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 18 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is 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.