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Tomlinson named to Outland Trophy Watch List

Posted July 11, 2013

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— Duke redshirt junior offensive guard Laken Tomlinson has been named to the preseason Watch List for the Outland Trophy, an honor presented annually by the Football Writers Association of America to the nation’s top interior lineman.

A 6-3, 320-pound native of Chicago, Ill., Tomlinson has started all 25 games of his collegiate career at right offensive guard for the Blue Devils. A two-time Academic All-ACC pick, he has played over 900 snaps in each of his first two seasons and in 2012, helped Duke score a school single-season record 410 points while securing the program’s first bowl game appearance since 1994.

Last year, Tomlinson spearheaded a Blue Devil offensive front that ranked second in the ACC in sacks allowed per pass attempt as quarterback Sean Renfree topped the 3,000-yard barrier for the second time in his career. The Duke passing game also featured two 1,000-yard receivers in all-conference selections Jamison Crowder and Conner Vernon. In the run game, Tomlinson helped open holes as Duke’s top three running backs combined to average 4.95 yards per carry with 1,401 yards on 283 attempts.

Tomlinson is one of 11 players from the ACC tabbed to the watch list. The 75-man list features 25 offensive tackles, 20 offensive guards, 19 defensive tackles and 11 centers.

Duke’s lone recipient of the Outland Trophy is Mike McGee, who earned the honor in 1959. Also the ACC Player of the Year and first team All-America pick that season, McGee went on to earn enshrinement into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1990.

The Blue Devils open the 2013 season with a home contest against N.C. Central on Saturday, August 31, at 4 p.m.

The Outland Trophy winner is chosen from three finalists who are part of the FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the entire membership, selects the 25-man 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. 20. Five days later three Outland Trophy finalists will be named by the FWAA. The winner of the 68th Outland Trophy, named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Penn at the turn of the 20th century, will be announced on ESPN on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 12 from Disney’s Boardwalk in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The Outland Trophy presentation banquet, sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee, will be held on Jan. 9, 2014 in Omaha, Neb. This year, North Carolina State center Jim Ritcher, the 1979 Outland Trophy winner, will be honored and presented an Outland Trophy, which was not given in the era in which he won the award.

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,300 men and women who cover college football for a living. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America team.

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