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Outland Trophy Finalists
University of Idaho senior guard Mike Iupati is one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy, which honors college football's most outstanding interior lineman. Finalists for The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards will be announced live on Thursday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Photo - OG Mike Iupati - Idaho
Outland Trophy (Best Interior Lineman)
Mike Iupati, Idaho
Russell Okung, Oklahoma St
Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
Iupati, 6'6" 325 lbs.has been the leader of the Vandal offensive line this fall as Idaho is enjoying its best season in a decade. He was recommended to the Senior Bowl committee by Frank Coyle in September 2009 and high on the offensive line list throughout the '09 season.
"He's a big strong man, who has great athletic ability," coach Robb Akey said. "He has the ability to move, the ability to run. He's physical at the point of attack. He also does a lot of good things as he's pulling. He can handle guys out in space. His athleticism combined with his size make him a special player."
There's more to Iupati, who came to Idaho from Western High School at Anaheim, Calif., but who grew up in American Samoa.
"He hasn't been in the United States all that long," said Akey of Iupati, whose family moved to the United States when he was 14. "He just started playing football when he was in high school."
Prior to the season, Iupati was voted as the Vandals' offensive captain.
"He's a first-class young man," Akey said. "He was elected team captain by his teammates for a reason."
Iupati is joined as a finalist by Oklahoma St's Russell Okung and Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh. He is expected to play at the Senior Bowl All-star game in late January 2010.
The Outland Trophy first was awarded in 1946 and is named to honor Pennsylvania's John Outland, one of only a few players in history to be chosen All-America at two positions. He was a consensus All-America in 1898 at tackle and a consensus All-America at back in 1899.
Frank Coyle is a consultant for the Senior Bowl and a longtime Member of the FWAA and voter in College team and player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Thorpe, etc.