The Football Writers Association of America announced on July 8th that that Brian Allen (Junior Offensive Lineman) and Malik McDowell (Junior Defensive Lineman) had been named to the Outland Trophy Watchlist for 2016. Considering their abilities, Super Bowl odds were expectedly in Allen and McDowell’s favor to join the Watchlist.
The Outland Trophy recognizes outstanding interior linemen and has been in place since 1946.
Allen’s brother was a two-time finalist for the Rimington Trophy, an interesting fact considering that Allen was, himself, named to the Rimington Trophy Watchlist earlier this week.
Named to the CampusInsiders.com All-Sophomore Team in 2015 and chosen as the Spartan Offensive Lineman of the week for his contribution to the win over Iowa in the Big Ten Championship, Allen started at left guard during the game with Penn State in the regular season, eventually grading out on an All-America Level.
He also filled in for his brother, starting two games at center, though he eventually returned to left guard during the game against Nebraska in Week 9.
Allen’s accolades are impressive and quite difficult to discount. A letter winner (who has played in 26 career games), Allen was a third-team preseason All-American pick as well as a first-team preseason All-Big Ten Pick.
McDowell learned earlier this week that he had been named to the Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy Watchlist. A second-team All-Big Ten Selection in 2015, McDowell dominated in the previous season, ranking second on his team in tackles for loss.
Named first-team All-Big Ten by ESPN (even while picking up second-team honors from the Associated Press and Athlon Sports), McDowell also joined Bullough on the ESPN Big Ten All-Bowl team. This was after recording two tackles and a 2-yard loss during the game with Alabama in the College Football Playoff Semifinal.
280 pounds in size, McDowell had 25 production points to his name during the MSU Regular-season finale against Penn State, boasting a ten-yard sack when all was said and done, this not even taking into account his 13-yard interception return for a touchdown.
During MSU's victory over Maryland, McDowell recorded some impressive stats with regards to tackles and tackles for loss, eventually being named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week.
McDowell has delivered some groundbreaking performances, at one point recording the eight-best single-game total in MSU history for his 4.5 tackles for loss. Some people might also point to McDowell’s half-sack and forced fumble against the Terrapins, the player eventually totaling an impressive 29 production points.
Boasting multiple tackles for loss games against Rutgers and Purdue (recording one sack each during those games), McDowell, who is a native of Detroit, has played 27 career games.
He can boast of 15 consecutive starts and 56 career tackles. The fact that he was named first-team preseason All-American last month is more than justified.
The award for which both Allen and McDowell are in the running to win was named after John Outland, a college football player named All-American at two positions. The semifinalists for the Outland Trophy won’t be named until November 17th, with the finalists being identified on November 22nd.
Fans will have to wait until December 8th for the announcement of the winner.