Alabama Football’s Ryan Kelly, A’Shawn Robinson Named Outland Trophy Semifinalists
Alabama senior center Ryan Kelly and junior defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson were selected as two of six semifinalists for the Outland Trophy, the Football Writers Association of America announced at a reception hosted by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee Thursday evening. The Outland Trophy is presented each season to the nation’s best interior lineman on offense or defense.
Kelly is the Crimson Tide’s senior leader and a veteran of 31 starts over the past three seasons. As the anchor of the offensive line, Kelly has provided excellent pass protection for Jake Coker, not allowing a sack and only surrendering three quarterback hurries in 313 pass attempts this season. He has also opened holes to help Derrick Henry rank as the national leader in rushing touchdowns (19) and sit at second overall in rushing yards (1,458). Kelly was named the Southeastern Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week for his play against LSU, creating running lanes for 250 yards rushing as a team and grading out at a season-high 92 percent for the Tide front. He is also the only center selected as a semifinalist.
Robinson, the lone defensive lineman to be selected as a semifinalist, has been a disruptive force in the middle of an Alabama defensive line that has been one the best in the nation. He has a career-high 34 tackles this season, including seven tackles for loss (-23 yards) and three sacks (-17 yards). In addition, Robinson has a team-high eight quarterback hurries, two pass breakups, a fumble recovery and one blocked PAT. The versatile playmaker helps lead an Alabama unit that ranks second nationally in rushing defense (77.1 yards per game) and sacks (38), while ranking fourth nationally in total defense (278.1 yards per game).
The field for the Outland Trophy will be reduced to three on Nov. 24, and featured on ESPNU at 4 p.m. CT. The winner of the 70th Outland Trophy will be revealed on Thursday, Dec. 10, on ESPN during The Home Depot College Football Awards from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Ga.
Alabama has had three players previously win the Outland Trophy, including Chris Samuels (1999), Andre Smith (2008) and most recently Barrett Jones (2011).