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Matthews Named Outland Trophy Semifinalist

November 19, 2013
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
OMAHA, Neb. --- Texas A&M senior offensive tackle Jake Matthews was named a semifinalist for the 2013 Outland Trophy, which is given annually to the nation’s top interior lineman by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).

Joining Matthews as semifinalists were Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh defensive tackle; Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama offensive tackle; Cyril Richardson, Baylor offensive guard; Bryan Stork, Florida State center; and David Yankey, Stanford offensive guard.

Matthews, from Missouri City, Texas, has been a key cog in the Aggies’ offensive front for four record-setting seasons. Texas A&M has broken and re-broken its school record for passing offense, total offense and scoring offense the past two seasons, and is on pace to shatter all three records again in 2013. With Matthews helping clear the way, the Aggies lead the Southeastern Conference in passing offense (379.2 yards/G), total offense (578.0 yards/G) and scoring offense (49.2 points/G).

A first-team All-American by the FWAA in 2012, Matthews was a 2013 Midseason All-American by Sports Illustrated and is also a semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award.

The field for the Outland Trophy 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.

2013 Outland Trophy semifinalists:

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. At the same banquet, North Carolina State center Jim Ritcher will receive an Outland Trophy, which is sponsored by the Downtown Omaha Rotary Club. He was the 1979 winner of the award before trophies were handed out by the FWAA.

This year the Outland Trophy Award Dinner will be held Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, at 7 p.m., at the DoubleTree Hotel, 16th & Dodge Streets. Tickets are $75 and tables of ten sell for $750. Also appearing at the dinner for the 16th straight year will be the winners of Nebraska's football senior awards – the Novak Trophy, the Chamberlin Trophy and the Cletus Fischer Native Son Award.

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.

The Greater Omaha Sports Committee, founded in 1977, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, consisting of more than 300 men and women from the City of Omaha and the State of Nebraska. The membership serves to communicate, develop, initiate and promote sports activities in the Greater Omaha sports area.

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