The Football Writers Association of America announced today that center Will Putnam has been named the Outland Trophy National Player of the Week for his performance in Clemson’s 31-23 win against Notre Dame. More information from the FWAA is included below.
DALLAS (FWAA) – Will Putnam helped Clemson more than double the scoring output Notre Dame had yielded this season keyed by its power run game. For achieving the highest grade on the Tigers’ offensive line in Clemson’s 31-23 upset of No. 12 Notre Dame, the Clemson center earned the Outland Trophy National Player of the Week honor for games during the weekend of Nov. 4, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.
For the first time, the FWAA is selecting an Outland Trophy National Player of the Week as part of the NCFAA’s weekly national honors from 12 awards. The recipient of the 2023 Outland Trophy will be announced on The Home Depot College Football Awards, live on ESPN on Dec. 8. The official presentation to the winner will be made at the Outland Trophy Awards Dinner sponsored by Werner Enterprises and produced by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee in Omaha, Neb., on Jan. 10, 2024.
Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the season. The weekly winners, including Putnam this week, will be part of the Outland Trophy watch list going forward.
Putnam, a 6-4 senior from Tampa, Fla., was a standout performer on an offensive line that helped propel running back Phil Mafah to a career-high 186 rushing yards against the Fighting Irish. Putnam graded out at 98 percent with six knockdowns and was a leader on a Clemson offense whose 31 points more than doubled the per-game average surrendered by the Irish defense, which entered the game 10th in the nation at 15.3 points per game.
The fifth-year center and Clemson’s first player to earn the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Offensive Lineman of the Week honor this season, also led Clemson to limit Notre Dame to one sack despite starting its third different offensive line combination in as many weeks and its fifth different offensive line combination of the season. The Tigers’ success in the ground game allowed for a school-record-tying 36 carries by Mafah and his 186 yards were the most by a Clemson player since 2021. Mafah was the ACC’s Running Back of the Week.
Clemson has had strong recent representation with the Outland Trophy but still seeks its first winner. Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins was a finalist in 2018. John Simpson, like Putnam a center, was a semifinalist in 2019 and is Clemson’s most recent offensive lineman to make the FWAA’s All-America team. Mitch Hyatt, an offensive tackle, was an Outland Trophy semifinalist in 2018. The other two past Outland Trophy finalists from Clemson were offensive tackle Stacy Long in 1990 and defensive tackle Michael Dean Perry in 1987.
The Tigers host Georgia Tech at Noon ET Saturday broadcast on ABC.
The Outland Trophy, celebrating 78 years since its founding, is the third-oldest major college football award. Created in 1946 when Dr. John Outland presented the FWAA with a financial contribution to initiate the award, the Outland Trophy has been given to the best interior lineman in college football ever since. Dr. Outland, an All-American at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1890s, eventually took up practice in Kansas City, Mo. An avid outdoorsman, Dr. Outland believed linemen did not get the credit they deserved and wanted an award to recognize them.
The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA includes college football’s most prestigious awards and its 24 awards have honored more than 900 recipients dating back to 1935. This season, 12 NCFAA awards will honor national players of the week each Tuesday. For more information about the NCFAA and its award programs, visit the redesigned NCFAA.org or follow on Twitter at @NCFAA.
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The Greater Omaha Sports Committee, founded in 1977, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, consisting of more than 1,300 men and women from the City of Omaha, the State of Nebraska, and others. The Committee serves to communicate, develop, initiate and promote sports activities in the Greater Omaha sports area. In addition to the Outland Trophy Award Events and Dinner, the Greater Omaha Sports Committee promotes high school, college, and professional sports in the Greater Omaha area and the Midwest. For more information contact Bob Mancuso Jr., Chairman at email@example.com or see showofficeonline.com.
Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,300 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org.