College lineman typically don't receive much of the glory or credit when it comes to most valuable player or local or national award recognition. But they should because their contributions - on both sides of the ball - are among the most vital in determining the outcome of any game.
There are a number of outstanding lineman on Big 12 football teams, and seven of them are drawing particular preseason recognition as watch list candidates for the Outland Trophy, which is presented at the end of the season to the country's most outstanding college interior lineman.
Oklahoma State leads the preseason Outland candidates from the Big 12 with two selections: offensive tackle Levy Adcock and offensive guard Lane Taylor. Adcock is a senior; Taylor is in his junior season. Other Big 12 players on the Outland watch list are senior offensive tackle Dan Hoch of Missouri and fifth-year senior tackle Kelechi Osemele from Iowa State; senior offensive guard Lonnie Edwards of Texas Tech; junior center Ben Habern from Oklahoma and Texas senior defensive tackle Kheeston Randall.
This is the second year that OU's Habern has been on the Outland watch list. This is the 66th year for the Outland Trophy, voted on by the Football Writers Association of America. The award is named after the late John Outland, an All-American lineman who played at Kansas and the University of Pennsylvania from 1895-1899. It is college football's third oldest national award after the Heisman Trophy and the Maxwell Award.
Seventeen student-athletes from the Big 12 have won the award in its 65-year history, the most recent of which was Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in 2009. Nate Solder of Colorado was one of the finalists for the award last season.
The Football Writers Association of America will select a 25-player team that will be narrowed to three finalists on Nov. 21. The winner of the 2011 Outland Trophy will be announced on Dec. 8 as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards show on ESPN.
Former Big 12 Winners of the Outland Trophy
2009 - Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle, Nebraska
2004 - Jammal Brown, offensive tackle, Oklahoma
1997 - Aaron Taylor, offensive guard, Nebraska
Prior to the Big 12
1994 - Zach Wiegert, offensive tackle, Nebraska
1992 - Will Shields, offensive tackle, Nebraska
1983 - Dean Steinkuhler, Nebraska
1982 - Dave Rimington, Nebraska
1981 - Dave Rimington, Nebraska
1978 - Greg Roberts, Oklahoma
1977 - Brad Shearer, Texas
1975 - Lee Roy Selmon, Oklahoma
1972 - Rich Glover, Nebraska
1971 - Larry Jacobson, Nebraska
1965 - Tommy Nobis, Texas
1963 - Scott Appleton, Texas
1953 - J.D. Roberts, Oklahoma
1951 - Jim Weatherall, Oklahoma