A new Outland Trophy will be presented Wednesday to the na
Dec. 07, 1988
NEW YORK (AP) _ A ''new'' Outland Trophy will be presented Wednesday to the nation's top lineman as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.
The three finalists chosen from the FWAA's All-America team are offensive tackle Tony Mandarich of Michigan State, offensive guard Mark Stepnoski of Pitt and defensive tackle Tracy Rocker of Auburn.
The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Mandarich ''could very well be the No. 1 (NFL draft) pick overall,'' according to Whitey Dovell, personnel director of the Kansas City Chiefs. Purdue coach Fred Akers calls Mandarich ''the best offensive lineman I've ever seen.''
The 6-3, 270-pound Stepnoski is the top blocker for a team that averaged 253.2 yards a game on the ground and 414.4 overall. He also is one of the National Football Foundation's 11 scholar-athletes for 1988.
Rocker, 6-3 and 278, was the only underclassman selected as one of the four finalists for the Lombardi Award last season and is one of the final four again this year.
''Without a doubt, Tracy Rocker is the most outstanding defensive lineman in America today,'' says LSU coach Mike Archer.
The original Outland Trophy was stolen in 1967 during a banquet at which Ron Yary of Southern Cal received the award.
Wednesday's winner will receive a bronze sculpture created by former Syracuse and Dallas Cowboys star Jim Ridlon. It depicts a lineman moving into action with one arm raised in a defensive move, the other in a traditional offensive position.