Tonka Hemingway Named to Outland Trophy Watch List
University of South Carolina senior defensive lineman Tonka Hemingway is one of 91 returning standout interior linemen representing all 10 Division I FBS conference and Independents named to the preseason watch list for the 2023 Outland Trophy, announced today by the Football Writers Association of America.
The recipient of the 2023 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. 10, 2024.
Hemingway, a 6-3, 285-pounder from Conway, S.C., earned All-SEC honors a year ago after logging 33 tackles, including 8.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks. He showed his versatility by running in a two-point conversion and hauling in a 16-yard pass reception as part of South Carolina’s top-ranked special teams units. Hemingway, who represents the football program on the student-athlete advisory committee (SAAC), was also recognized as the 2022 Outstanding Student-Athlete Award winner.
There are 31 offensive tackles on this year’s list with 24 defensive tackles and 24 guards to go with 12 centers. Just under half of the 133 Football Bowl Subdivision schools – 65 – are represented.
The Outland Trophy winner is chosen from three finalists who are a part of the annual FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the entire membership, selects a 26-man first 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.
Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. For the first time, the FWAA will announce an Outland Trophy National Player of the Week each Tuesday this season. If not already on the watch list, each week’s honored player will be added at that time.
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.