The Football Writers Association of America announced UTEP’s Will Hernandez to the 2017 Outland Trophy Watch List on Thursday.
The senior left guard in one of 81 standout interior linemen and one of 16 offensive guards to be named to the prestigious list.
The 2016 AP All-American as started all 37 games at the left guard position during his career, while he’s part of an offensive line unit that has surrendered only 47 sacks in 37 contests (1.3 sacks allowed per game).
The Outland Trophy winner is chosen from three finalists who are a part of the annual FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the entire membership, selects a 26-man first team and eventually the three Outland finalists. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner. Only interior linemen on offense or defense are eligible for the award; ends are not eligible.
The list will be trimmed to six or seven semifinalists on Nov. 15. Six days later, three Outland Trophy finalists will be named by the FWAA. The winner of the 72nd Outland Trophy – named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Penn at the turn of the 20th century, will be announced live on ESPN at The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 7. For the third straight year, the show will air from the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
The Outland Trophy presentation banquet, sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee, will be held on Jan. 10, 2018 in Omaha, Neb. Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden will receive the Tom Osborne Legacy Award at the same banquet.
The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 23 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935.
The Miners open the 2017 campaign at Oklahoma on Sept. 2 (1:30 p.m. MT), followed with their first home contest and Conference USA opener against Rice on Sept. 9 (6 p.m.).