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Baylor Trio Selected To Outland Trophy Watch List

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Baylor Trio Selected To Outland Trophy Watch List
Billings, Blackshear and Drango up for nation’s top interior lineman award.

DALLAS – Three Baylor football players, junior defensive tackle Andrew Billings, senior defensive lineman Beau Blackshear and senior offensive tackle Spencer Drango were tabbed to the 2015 Outland Trophy watch list, the Football Writers Association of America announced Friday. The Outland Trophy is presented annually to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman on offense or defense.
 

Billings started all 13 games at nose tackle during 2014. He earned All-Big 12 honors by totaling 37 tackles (26 solo, 11.5 for loss of 38 yards), 2.0 sacks, nine hurries and one forced fumble on the season. Billings ranked 12th in the Big 12 (third on team) with 11.5 tackles for loss and led BU with nine QB hurries. He recorded a tackle in all 13 games.

It is the third different watch list honor for Billings this season, after already making the Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy lists, which honor the top defensive players.

Blackshear is a returning All-Big 12 lineman, who will go into 2015 as a third-year starting interior defensive lineman. He has 38 career games played (second-most on team) and 25 career starts (third-most on squad). Last season, Blackshear started all 13 games at defensive tackle, while posting 44 tackles (27 solo, 9.5 for loss), 4.5 sacks (-41 yards), two hurries, one fumble recovery and one field goal block.

Drango is a returning All-American and a two-time first team All-Big 12 honoree. He is slated to be a fourth-year starter at left tackle and has a team-high 35 career starts entering 2014 season. A year ago, Drango started all 13 games at left tackle to earn consensus 2014 All-America and unanimous first-team All-Big 12 honors. He was named the Big 12 Co-Offensive Lineman of Year, after leading an offensive line that powered BU’s running game to 215.5 yards per game (second in Big 12) and ranked fourth in league with 1.85 average sacks allowed. Drango averaged a team-high 88.5 percent coaches grade and 39 knockdowns on the season.

Drango was also a watch list member in 2014 as well as semifinalist for the Outland Trophy last season. He is also the only returning interior lineman from the FWAA’s 2014 All-America team on the list.

The trio’s inclusion gives Baylor at least one watch list member for the Outland honor for three straight years. BU offensive guard Cyril Richardson made the Outland watch list and went on to be a finalist for the award in 2013, while Drango was the lone Bear a season ago to receive the recognition. Baylor boasts three of the 11 players from the Big 12 on the full list of 82 athletes.

The Outland Trophy winner is chosen from three finalists who are a part of the FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the entire membership, selects the 26-man first team and eventually the three Outland finalists. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner.

The list will be trimmed to six or seven semifinalists on Nov. 19. Five days later three Outland Trophy finalists will be named by the FWAA. The winner of the 70th 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. 10.

The Outland Trophy presentation banquet, sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee, will be held on Jan. 14, 2016 in Omaha, Nebraska.

Keep up with the Bears all season long by following @BUFootball on Twitter and Instagram.

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