Texas Longhorns senior offensive guards Mason Walters and Trey Hopkins have been selected to the watch list for the 2013 Outland Trophy, honoring the nation's most outstanding interior lineman, the Football Writers Association of America has announced. The watch list of 75 players includes only tackles, guards and centers from both sides of the ball.
Texas has had three winners of the Outland Trophy, including Brad Shearer in 1977, Tommy Nobis in 1965 and Scott Appleton in 1963. Three other Longhorns have also been finalists, including Justin Blalock in 2006, Leonard Davis in 2000 and Dan Neil in 1996.
Walters is a fifth-year offensive lineman who has started the last 38 games (longest streak on the team) at right guard and has played in 39 career games. He was a 2012 honorable mention All-Big 12 selection and was named to the 2012 Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award watch lists. He was named 2011 second-team All-Big 12 (San Antonio Express-News) and honorable mention (Coaches). Walters appeared in one game at tackle and on special teams in 2009 before missing the remainder of the season due to a foot injury and redshirting. He enrolled in January '09 to take part in spring drills and was a prep All-American who was ranked as the nation's top center by ESPNU and the nation's second-best offensive tackle by Rivals. He earned eight letters in three sports as a prepster.
Hopkins is a fourth-year offensive lineman who has played in 37 games, including starts in the last 29 (16 at LG/13 at RT). He was a 2012 second team All-Big 12 choice by the coaches, San Antonio Express-News and Dallas Morning News. Hopkins was a prep All-American, all-state, all-area and two-time first-team all-district performer on the offensive line. He played in the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and was a member of Rivals' top 100 and ESPNU's top 150 national prospects. He was ranked as the best guard by Rivals and the sixth-best guard by ESPNU. Hopkins was a 2011 Academic All-Big 12 first team selection and was named to the UT Athletics Director's Honor Roll (Spring 2011).
Walters and Hopkins are part of an offensive line in 2012 that helped the Horns post the 23rd-best scoring offense in the country (35.7 ppg), rank 40th in total yards (434.6 pg), and post at least 400 total yards of offense in nine games as well as allowing just 4.1 tackles for loss per game (No. 3 in the FBS) and 1.23 sacks (22nd in FBS).
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.
With David Ash, Dominic Espinosa and other Longhorns being named to "watch lists", it is clear that the rest of the country is taking notice and expecting big things out of Texas Football.