Three finalists for the 2013 Outland Trophy were announced on Monday by the Football Writers Association of America: Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews and Baylor offensive guard Cyril Richardson.
The trophy goes annually to the nation’s top interior lineman and will be announced on Dec. 12.
Donald, a 6-foot, 280-pound senior, leads the country with 26 tackles for loss and is tied for 10th nationally in sacks with 10. He also has four forced fumbles. His tackles for loss total is already ahead of that of former Nebraska star Ndamukong Suh, who won both the Outland and Nagurski trophies in 2009. In the Panthers’ 11th game of the season, a 17-16 victory over Syracuse, he blocked an extra point for the victory, making the Panthers bowl-eligible.
Matthews, a 6-5, 305-pound senior, took over for 2012 Outland winner Luke Joeckel’s at left tackle this season. With Matthews anchoring the line, Texas A&M’s offense has been one of the most prolific in college football, averaging 552.6 total yards (fourth nationally) and 365.1 passing (sixth nationally). The Aggies average 45.6 points per game (fifth nationally). He’s the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews and has two cousins currently in the NFL.
Richardson, 6-5, 340-pound senior, is one of the major reasons Baylor has the nation’s top scoring offense at 56.8 points per game and is No. 1 total offense at 661.6 yards per game. He has played tackle, but moved back to guard the past two seasons. Baylor’s rushing game averages just under 280 yards per game (ninth nationally) and its passing offense is fourth in the country at 381.9 yards per game. The Bears (10-1) won their first 10 games of the season before falling to Oklahoma State over the weekend.