July 11, 2013
DALLAS, Texas - East Carolina senior Will Simmons is one of 75 interior linemen that has been named to the 2013 Outland Trophy Watch List, according to an announcement by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Thursday.
Simmons, who has garnered preseason First-Team All-Conference USA honors by Phil Steele's College Football Preview Magazine, is the first Pirate to be named to the watch list since Brian Rimpf in 2002 and 2003.
Last year Simmons earned all-conference honors after starting all 13 games at right guard and was a vital member of an offensive line group that helped produce five 100-yard rushing performances and four 300-yard passing contests. Additionally he was part of three games where ECU produced 550 or more yards of total offense (600/UAB, 550/UH, 555/MAR).
The Ahoskie, N.C. native also helped pave the way for a season-high 245 yards rushing against the Cougars in 2012 while playing a pivotal role for an offensive unit that provided pass protection for Shane Carden's single-game passing record of 439 yards against Marshall and Vintavious Cooper's 1,049-yard rushing season.
Entering his senior campaign, Simmons has started 25-straight games topping all players on the offensive side of the ball and over the last two seasons has been a key contributor in the pass protection for seven 300-yard passing games.
Simmons, who was selected as the offensive recipient of the Rock Roggeman Heart-of-the-Pirate Award and was named ECU's Offensive Lineman-of-the-Year during the program's annual awards banquet in 2012, is the lone representative of C-USA on the initial watch list.
The Outland Trophy winner is chosen from three finalists who are part of the FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the entire membership, selects the 25-man team and eventually the three Outland finalists. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner. Only interior linemen on offense or defense are eligible for the award; ends are not eligible.
The list will be trimmed to six or seven semifinalists on November 20. Five days later three Outland Trophy finalists will be named by the FWAA. The winner of the 68th 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 December 12 from Disney's Boardwalk in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.