Mountain West Football: Six Named To Outland Trophy Watch List
The preseason list of college football’s best interior linemen includes a half-dozen players from the Mountain West.
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Watch list season continued this morning thanks in part to the Outland Trophy, the award given annually to college football’s top interior lineman, whether it’s on offense or defense. This year, the Mountain West landed representatives from both sides of the ball with six athletes making the cut among 89 players altogether.
The conference’s contingent is led by a pair of Boise State Broncos, offensive tackle John Ojukwu and defensive tackle Scott Matlock. Ojukwu, a veteran with 37 career starts under his belt, earned his first first-team all-conference nod last winter after landing on the second-team offense back in 2020, posting an overall PFF grade of 70.1 that represented a career best.
Matlock, meanwhile, made his mark by emerging as one of the conference’s most disruptive defensive linemen, posting career bests of his own with 40 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, and seven sacks.
Utah State’s Alfred Edwards III also made the cut after earning his first all-conference honorable mention in 2021. Though he missed one game last year with injury, he still made 13 starts in all for the conference champions and allowed just two sacks in an offense that had well over 500 dropbacks.
Air Force’s Everett Smalley is the lone Diesel to land on the Outland Trophy list after a quietly outstanding 2021 of his own. He posted the 12th-best PFF grade, 87.9, of any FBS offensive tackle last season and cemented himself as the best individual performer on a unit that was a Joe Moore Award finalist as the country’s best offensive line.
San Diego State’s Alama Uluave also appears here after making the cut for the Rimington Trophy watch list last week. The lone Mountain West center on both lists, Uluave has also earned a preseason all-conference spot in recent days after starting all 14 games for the Aztecs in 2021, allowing only six pressures in over 400 passing opportunities according to Pro Football Focus and playing a whopping 953 snaps in all.
Lastly, Nevada offensive tackle Aaron Frost represents the Union on this year’s Outland list. He earned a spot on the second-team all-conference offense last season after playing in all 13 games and helping the Wolf Pack’s Air Raid to become the conference’s most prolific attack, averaging 347 passing yards per game.
Last year’s Outland Trophy winner was Georgia’s Jordan Davis.