Nov. 21, 2016
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State senior center Pat Elflein has been named a finalist for the prestigious Outland Trophy, which honors the nation’s outstanding interior lineman. The Football Writers Association of America revealed the three finalists this evening. The others are Washington State offensive guard Cody O’Connell and Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson.
Elflein, a mid-season All-American on six different teams and a team captain with a commanding presence on the offensive line, is also one of 20 players under consideration for the Lombardi Award and he is on the watch list for the Rimington Trophy.
The winner of the 2016 Outland Trophy will be announced Thurs., Dec. 8, on The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN, the main show beginning at 7 p.m. ET from the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
Elflein, a 6-3, 300-pound senior from Pickerington, Ohio, has started all 11 games for the second-ranked Buckeyes (10-1), who play Michigan on Saturday in a showdown of Big Ten East Division powers. He is the only senior on Ohio State’s offensive line and has 40 career starts. He played guard was named All-Big Ten First Team twice as a sophomore and junior prior to this season, but moved to center because he projects to play the position in the NFL. The Buckeyes rank fifth in the nation in scoring (43.8 ppg), eighth in rushing offense (263.1 ypg) and 21st in total offense (493.1 ypg).
Alabama, Ohio State and Washington State all have had previous Outland Trophy winners. The Buckeyes lead the group with four previous winners: Jim Parker (1956), Jim Stillwagon (1970), John Hicks (1973) and Orlando Pace (1996). Alabama didn’t have a winner until 1999, but now has three previous winners: Chris Samuels (1999), Andre Smith (2008) and Barrett Jones (2011). Washington State’s lone previous winner is Rien Long (2002).
The Outland Trophy, which is named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1800s, is the third-oldest player award in major-college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award. It has been awarded to the best interior lineman in college football on offense or defense since 1946 when Notre Dame’s George Connor was named the recipient.
For the 20th consecutive year, the presentation of the Outland Trophy will occur in Omaha, on Jan. 11, 2017, at a banquet sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee. At the same banquet, Oklahoma offensive lineman Greg Roberts will receive an Outland Trophy. Roberts was the 1978 winner of the award before trophies were handed out by the FWAA. His Oklahoma coach, the legendary Barry Switzer, will receive the third annual Tom Osborne Legacy Award during the evening.