(Laramie, WY) – Two additional Wyoming football players have been added to NCAA preseason award watch lists.
For the second consecutive season, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) have named University of Wyoming junior center Keegan Cryder to the Outland Trophy Watch List. The Outland Trophy is presented annually to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman.
The FWAA announced the preseason watch list for the 2021 Outland Trophy on Tuesday and recognized 80 returning standout interior linemen representing all 10 Division I FBS conferences along with student-athletes from independent teams. The 2021 season continues a celebration of the award’s 75th anniversary and the watch list presents a talented field of players to accompany three returning FWAA All-Americans.
The 2020 season saw Cryder and his Wyoming offensive line mates help the Cowboys generate 219.5 rushing yards per game to rank No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 14 nationally. Xazavian Valladay ranked No. 17 in the nation in rushing, and Trey Smith ranked No. 48. Valladay also led the Mountain West in rushing, averaging 110.0 yards per game, while Smith averaged 81.3 rushing yards per game to rank No. 6 in the Mountain West.
In 2019, Cryder was a key to the Wyoming offense ranking No. 2 in the MW and No. 23 in the NCAA in rushing offense, averaging 214.8 rushing yards per game. He helped Wyoming rank No. 4 in the Mountain West and No. 32 in the nation in fewest sacks allowed (1.62 per game). Cryder also helped pave the way for running back Valladay to record a 1,000-yard rushing season (1,265 yards) in 2019. Valladay led the Mountain West and ranked No. 18 in the nation in rushing yards per game (105.4).
Cryder was a leader of a Wyoming offensive line unit that was one of only two Mountain West O-Lines and one of only 24 nationally to be named to the Joe Moore Award Midseason Honor Roll for 2019.
Only interior linemen on offense (centers, guards and tackles) and defense (tackles and nose tackles) are eligible for the Outland Trophy. The 2021 Outland Trophy Watch List includes 26 offensive tackles, 24 guards, 17 centers and 13 defensive tackles/nose tackles. Ends are not eligible. Additional candidates may be added to the watch list during the season.
The Outland Trophy, celebrating 75 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 recipient of the 2021 Outland Trophy will be announced on The Home Depot College Football Awards, live on ESPN in December. 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. 12, 2022.
Wyoming freshman place-kicker John Hoyland is coming off a great season in 2020, and on Wednesday The Palm Beach County Sports Commission recognized Hoyland as one of the best kickers in the nation by naming him to the 2021 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Preseason Watch List.
The native of Broomfield, Colo., is one of only 30 place-kickers named to this year’s Groza Award Watch List. He led the nation in field goals made per game in 2020 (2.17 per game), and he was one of the country’s most accurate kickers, making 13 of 14 field goals (92.9 percent) to rank No. 6 in the nation.
Last season, he was one of only 32 freshmen nationally named to the 2020 Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Freshman All-America team. He was the only place-kicker named to the team and was one of 17 true freshmen on the team. The other 15 players named to the 2020 squad were redshirt freshmen.
Hoyland earned 2020 Second Team All-Mountain West honors in voting by conference head coaches and media. He missed only one kick all last season and ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 6 in the nation in field-goal percentage (92.9 percent). In addition to making 13 of 14 field goals on the season, he was a perfect 16 of 16 in PATs.
The true freshman also ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 19 in the nation in scoring among all players in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) at all positions, averaging 9.2 points per game. Hoyland ranked No. 5 in the Mountain West among all players at all positions in points responsible for, averaging 9.2 points per game. He led Wyoming in scoring, with 55 points.
Hoyland was named the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week in his very first college game at Nevada in the 2020 season opener. He was a perfect 4 for 4 in field goals and 2 of 2 in PATs. He made a 42-yard field goal to send the game to overtime and hit a 38-yarder to give Wyoming the lead, 34-31, in overtime before the Pokes fell, 34-37. Hoyland was also a perfect 3 for 3 in field goals vs. New Mexico and was a perfect 3 of 3 in field goals vs. Boise State. He made at least one field goal in all six games in 2020.
While the Watch List highlights 30 of the best returning kickers in the country, the Groza Committee will be watching all FBS kickers throughout the season, and releasing a weekly “Stars of the Week” feature on www.lougrozaaward.com. All FBS kickers remain eligible to be selected as semifinalists.
Accomplishments are tabulated throughout the season and the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award will announce its 20 semifinalists on Thursday, November 4th. From this list, a panel of more than 100 FBS head coaches, SIDs, media members, former Groza finalists, and current NFL kickers selects the top three finalists for the award, announced on Tuesday, November 23rd. That same group then selects the national winner, who will be announced on Thursday, December 9th during the Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN.
The 30th Annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, presented by the Orange Bowl Committee, recognizes the three finalists during a celebration in Palm Beach County, culminating with a gala awards banquet at West Palm Beach’s Kravis Center for the Performing Arts on December 6th.
The Award is named for National Football League Hall of Fame kicker Lou “The Toe” Groza, who played 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Groza won four NFL championships with Cleveland and was named NFL Player of the Year in 1954. Although an All-Pro offensive lineman, as well, Groza ushered in the notion that there should be a place on an NFL roster for a kicker.
Hoyland follows former Cowboy place-kicker Cooper Rothe, who was twice named to the Groza Award Watch List in 2018 and ’19 and was one of three national finalists in 2018.
For more information on the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award and to see the “Stars of the Week” throughout the season, please go to www.lougrozaaward.com. For even more updates on the best kicking performances throughout the season, follow @LouGrozaAward on Twitter.
About the Palm Beach County Sports Commission
The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is a private, not-for-profit organization contracted by Palm Beach County to promote and market the County as a sports and sports tourism destination. The Commission brings sporting events and activities to the County, enhances economic impact, stimulates bed tax revenues (primarily in the off-season), and maximizes utilization of County facilities. The Commission offers a full range of event service support, corporate partnerships, sponsorships, and a local membership program that support its goals. Local, regional, national, and international marketing efforts are ongoing by the Commission with sports organizations and event owners. The Commission also produces sports-related programs for the residents of Palm Beach County including the annual Lou Groza Award program, the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame, the Kids Fitness Festival of the Palm Beaches, and the annual Holiday Basketball Classic of the Palm Beaches. For more information on the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, go to www.palmbeachsports.com.