Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Okung, Suh named Outland Trophy finalists
By Tim Griffin
Oklahoma State tackle Russell Okung and Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh have been named among three finalists for the Outland Trophy, which is awarded to college football's best interior lineman by the Football Writers Association of Amerca.
The other finalist named was Idaho guard Mike Iupati.
The finalists will attend the announcement of the award, which will come on Dec. 10 during The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The show will begin at 7 p.m. ET.
Okung, a 6-5, 300-pound senior from Houston, has been rated as the top offensive tackle NFL prospect in college football. Heading into the regular-season finale against Oklahoma on Saturday, the durable Okung is slated for his 46th consecutive start for the Cowboys. He's a big reason why the 9-2 Cowboys' offense produces 203.5 yards a game on the ground. Twice during his career he has not allowed a sack against the nation's leader at the time -- including an effort against Texas A&M end Von Miller this season.
Suh, a 6-4, 300-pound senior defensive tackle from Portland, Ore., leads Nebraska in tackles with 35 unassisted tackles and 30 assisted stops. He has 15 tackles for 52 yards in losses (6.5 sacks), 10 pass break-ups, 20 quarterback hurries, one interception, one forced fumble and three blocked kicks. A top NFL prospect, Suh heads up the nation's third-ranked scoring defense that has propelled the Cornhuskers to an 8-3 regular-season record heading into the regular-season finale at Colorado on Friday.
The Big 12 has featured two previous winners in its history. Aaron Taylor of Nebraska claimed the award in 1997 and Jammal Brown of Oklahoma in 2004.
Including its previous history, Nebraska has claimed the award previous a record eight times by seven different players. Previous Nebraska winners include Dave Rimington (twice), Larry Jacobson, Rich Glover, Dean Steinkuhler, Will Shields, Zach Wiegert and Taylor.
An Oklahoma State player has never won the Outland Trophy.
The official 2009 award presentation will be Jan. 14, 2010, in Omaha, Neb., at a banquet sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee.