The Outland Trophy. It is awarded to the best interior lineman in college football. First awarded in 1946 to George Conner of Notre Dame, its aim was to give the recognition that all guards and tackles deserve. The last Ohio State Outland winner was Orlando Pace in 1996. Here is a look at the two Buckeyes who are on this year’s watchlist for the coveted award.
OT Paris Johnson Jr.
Last season found Paris Johnson Jr. playing at right guard. He excelled at guard in spite of the fact that his natural position is at tackle. In fact, according to Nathan Baird of Cleveland.com, when he arrived at Ohio State in 2020 he had his sights on being “the left tackle of the future” for the Bucks. Last year he allowed 13 QB hurries, one QB hit and no sacks in 768 snaps, according to nfldraftbuzz.com. With Johnson moving to left tackle, and taking the lessons learned from his time at right guard, this season he will reach new heights. And he will make a strong case for the Outland.
OT Dawand Jones
Right tackle Dawand Jones has made a name for himself in his time with the Buckeyes. Last season he gave up 7 QB hurries, one QB hit and 3 sacks in 791 snaps, according to nfldraftbuzz.com. It has been noted also that because of his size and athletic ability he is able to block on the move. This makes him invaluable for plays such as the screen pass.
This offseason Jones was eligible for the NFL draft, but decided to return to Ohio State for his senior season. This bodes well for his development as a premier tackle, and it also bodes well for the Buckeyes. With the team poised for what could be a legendary season, Jones’ further development could enable the Bucks to roll over opposing defenses. Even more so than last year.
Ohio State to snag the Outland?
With this season shaping up to be one for the ages, several players could benefit from a spectacular run. Returning players such as C.J. Stroud are looking to make a huge impact, and in Stroud’s case to win the Heisman. Also, the defense, led by new coordinator Jim Knowles is expected to make much more of an impact than they did last year. And the offense should be even better, more dominant than last season. The stage is set for a national championship run.
And the result could be that one of these two gentleman is bringing home the Outland Trophy.