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SEC Dominates Preseason Outland Trophy Watch List with 15 Nominees

Laremy Tunsil

Laremy Tunsil

The preseason Outland Trophy award watch list was announced on Friday with 81 of the top interior linemen in the nation receiving recognition from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). The watch list included players from all Power 5 Conferences with the SEC leading the pack with 15 nominees. The Pac-12 had 13 players on the list, followed by 11 each from the Big 12 and Big Ten, and seven from the ACC.

Among the early favorites to capture the 2015 honor is the lone returning semifinalist from last season, Baylor’s Spencer Drango. Ole Miss has two potential candidates to earn the honors, offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil and defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche. South Carolina right tackle Brandon Shell, Ohio State’s Taylor Decker, UCLA defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, and Alabama nose guard A’Shawn Robinson are among the other players who could grind their way to the postseason hardware.

Other SEC contenders with a reasonable shot at winning include Alabama center Ryan Kelly and left tackle Cam Robinson, Arkansas right guard Sebastian Tretola, and Georgia right guard Greg Pyke.

The three semifinalists will be announced on Nov. 19 with the winner being named on Dec. 10 during "The Home Depot College Football Awards Show" at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, which will be televised on ESPN.

Outland Trophy Watch List (SEC players highlighted)

G Vadal Alexander, LSU
C Jack Allen, Michigan State
OT Adrian Bellard, Texas State
DT Andrew Billings, Baylor
DT Beau Blackshear, Baylor
C Austin Blythe, Iowa
C Evan Boehm, Missouri
C J.T. Boyd, East Carolina
C Jake Brendel, UCLA
DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech
OT Le'Raven Clark, Texas Tech
DT Kenny Clark, UCLA
DT Maliek Collins, Nebraska
OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State
OT Austin Corbett, Nevada
OT Joe Dahl, Washington State
C Ty Darlington, Oklahoma
DT Sheldon Day, Notre Dame
OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State
OT Spencer Drango, Baylor
G Parker Ehinger, Cincinnati
G Pat Elflein, Ohio State
G Dan Feeney, Indiana
G Joshua Garnett, Stanford
DT Adam Gotsis, Georgia Tech
Darius Hamilton, Rutgers
OT Ike Harris, East Carolina
C Marcus Henry, Boise State
C Joey Hunt, TCU
OT Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M
OT Roderick Johnson, Florida State
DT Gerrand Johnson, ULM
OT Tyler Johnstone, Oregon
DT Chris Jones, Mississippi State
C Ryan Kelly, Alabama

C Nick Kelly, Arizona State
OT Denver Kirkland, Arkansas
G Alex Kozan, Auburn

G Jimmy Kristof, Western Michigan
DT Luther Maddy, Virginia Tech
DT Corey Marshall, Virginia Tech
C Nick Martin, Notre Dame
OT Ryker Mathews, BYU
OT Kyle Murphy, Stanford
C Andrew Ness, Northern Illinois
DT Thomas Niles, UCF
DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
C Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia
DT Joe Ostman, Central Michigan
DT Davion Pierson, TCU
G Greg Pyke, Georgia
DT Jarran Reed, Alabama

G Andrew Reue, Rice
DT Hassan Ridgeway, Texas
DT A'Shawn Robinson, Alabama
OT Cam Robinson, Alabama

G Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State
OT Brandon Shell, South Carolina
C Matt Skura, Duke
C Matt Sparks, Massachusetts
OT Garrett Stafford, Tulsa
OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
OT Freddie Tagaloa, Arizona
G Chris Taylor, Tulane
G Wyatt Teller, Virginia Tech
G Sebastian Tretola, Arkansas
C Max Tuerk, USC
DT Travis Tuiloma, BYU
OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss
G Landon Turner, North Carolina
OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, TCU
OT Clint Van Horn, Marshall
DT Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA
C Dan Voltz, Wisconsin
DT Adolphus Washington, Ohio State
G Christian Westerman, Arizona State
OT Cody Whitehair, Kansas State
DT Antwaun Woods, USC

— Written by Ryan Wright, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and an established media professional with more than two decades' worth of experience. Over the years, Wright has written for numerous sites and publications and he recently started his own recruiting site, Follow him on Twitter @HogManinLA.