HOUSTON - The Outland Trophy is the third-oldest award in major college football, behind the Heisman Trophy and the Maxwell Award, and for the first time in its history, it's been won by a Houston Cougar.
At Thursday night's College Football Awards show, sophomore defensive tackle Ed Oliver was named the winner of the 2017 Outland Trophy, which is presented annually to the nation’s top interior lineman by the Football Writers Association of America.
Oliver also became the first sophomore to win the award which has been handed out since 1946.
"I'm not surprised. He's the best lineman in college football. It is not even close," said Houston head coach Major Applewhite. "Ed is just a tremendous player. He has a lot of great physical skill. He works to hone those skills every day. He is a technician. He has a 3.2 GPA over his first semesters and you don't have to worry about him off the field."
"Ed Oliver is one of the rising young stars in college football," said FWAA President Dave Jones, of the PA Media Group. "On the defensive line, he is prolific. He is one of the most aggressive defenders in college football who someday will be in the National Football League."
Oliver, from Westfield High School in Spring, was the American Athletic Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy. He leads the nation with a career average of 1.54 tackles for loss per game, totaling 37.5 tackles for loss in only 24 games played.
This season, he led UH in tackles for loss (14.5), sacks (5.5), quarterback hurries (7), forced fumbles (2) and blocked kicks (1). He also had three pass breakups and one fumble recovery on the year.
For the 21st consecutive year, the Outland Trophy Presentation Banquet will occur in Omaha on Jan. 10, 2018, and will be sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee at the DoubleTree Hotel Downtown. At the same banquet, the fourth annual Tom Osborne Legacy Award, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Omaha-Downtown, will be presented to Florida State coaching legend Bobby Bowden.
Oliver is Houston’s third major award winner, following in the footsteps of Andre Ware, the 1989 Heisman Trophy winner, and 1976 Lombardi Trophy winner Wilson Whitley.
Also on Thursday, Oliver was named a Walter Camp First Team All-American, Houston’s first such honor since Ware earned the title in 1989.
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