Zeitler Named to the 2011 Outland Trophy Watch List

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin senior offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler has been named to the preseason watch list for the 2011 Outland Trophy, the Football Writers  Association of America (FWAA)  announced Friday. This year’s  watch list is comprised of 65  players representing each Football  Bowl Subdivision conference, with  the Big Ten’s 13 representatives the  most of any league. Zeitler seeks to  become the Badgers’ third winner of  the Outland Trophy in the last six  seasons, joining 2010 honoree Gabe  Carimi and 2006 winner Joe Thomas. The award is presented annually to the best interior lineman in college football.

Zeitler enters his senior season as a two-year starter at right guard for the Badgers. He appeared in all 13 games last season, including starts in each of the season’s final nine games, and earned consensus All-Big Ten honorable mention. He was also twice named UW’s co-offensive player of the week. His contributions were evident in 2010, aiding a line that allowed the Badgers to pile up record-setting numbers on offense en route to the Big Ten championship and a berth in the Rose Bowl. UW’s offense topped the 70-point plateau three times and led the Big Ten with a school-record 41.5 points per game, including an average of 45.2 points in conference play — the second-best mark in Big ten history.

The line paved the way for a running game that tallied 48 rushing touchdowns and fell just four yards short of making UW the first team in FBS history to have three running backs rush for 1,000 yards in the same season. It also provided protection for a passing attack that saw starting quarterback Scott Tolzien set school records and rank among the national leaders in completion percentage (72.9 percent) and passer rating (165.9).

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 to be named on Nov. 21. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner.

The Outland Trophy, presented annually since 1946, is the third oldest award in major college football. The winner of the 66th Outland Trophy, named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Penn and Kansas at the turn of the century, will be announced on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 8 on ESPN.

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