Brian Daniels and Mark Fenton are among 54 linemen named to the Outland Trophy watch list, one of the oldest awards in college football. The Outland Trophy has been awarded to the best offensive or defensive lineman in college football since 1946. The winner is selected by the Football Writers Association of America‚s All-America Committee, which selects the association‚s 25-man team and picks three Outland trophy finalists.
Daniels bounced back from a fractured rib and a bruised kidney suffered in the opener versus Colorado State to grade out as the team’s top lineman in 2005. He earned honorable mention all-Big 12 honors for the second straight year from both the Associated Press and the league coaches. In 640 snaps from scrimmage, he led the team with 29 knockdown blocks while not allowing a sack (he has allowed just one sack over the last two seasons).
Daniels also grades out well in the classroom, as he is in the formal process of applying to be a candidate for the Rhodes Scholar, the most prestigious academic award in the country. Five Buffs have been awarded the honor, the last being OT/DT Jim Hansen in 1992.
Fenton will try to become just the fourth center to claim college football’s third-oldest award. The senior is once again on the Rimington Trophy Watch List, as he was one of six finalists in 2005 for the award which recognizes the nation‚s top center. He is also on the official Lombardi award Watch List. A first-team all-Big 12 selection from the league coaches in 2005, Fenton has started 26 straight games in the middle and has played the most snaps on offense in each of the past two seasons.
Fenton received rave reviews last season from 2005 Outland trophy winner Greg Eslinger, a center from Minnesota who was drafted by the Denver Broncos. Eslinger watched game tape of Fenton’s performance against Colorado State when Minnesota was preparing to face the Rams.
“He’s a really good player,‰ Eslinger said in December, the day before he was awarded the Outland Trophy at the College Football Awards Show in Orlando, Fla. “Just watching him on film you can really tell how well he moves guys around.”
The 2006 Outland Trophy announcement will be on Dec. 7 in Orlando on the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show.
Meanwhile, senior defensive end Abraham Wright was included on a list of 42 preseason candidates for the 2006 Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award.
Wright tied for the team lead in sacks in 2005 with five. He also recorded 27 tackles, six third down stops, four quarterback pressures and five passes broken up. Wright started learning sign language in the summer of 2004, and he has hosted deaf children on campus. He has a sincere interest in working with the deaf after his football playing days are over.