It’s a bad day for the “Big 12 doesn’t have elite players in the trenches” crowd. The list of finalists for the 2023 Outland Trophy has been narrowed down to three names, and two of them call the Big 12 home.
Texas defensive lineman T’Vondre Sweat represents the Longhorns on the list and is the lone finalist on the defensive side of the ball.
Stats don’t always tell the story with interior defensive linemen but look no further than Texas’ Big 12-best rushing defense, which allows just 85.0 yards rushing per game. Sweat is the centerpiece of that defense, and his influence up front at 6-foot-4, 362 pounds has been felt, with 40 tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, and four passes defended.
Kansas State guard Cooper Beebe is the other finalist from the Big 12 and is widely regarded as one of the top players in the conference, regardless of position. Beebe is the first-ever Wildcat finalist for the Outland Trophy – presented annually to the nation’s most outstanding lineman.
A career 47-game starter to rank fifth among Wildcat offensive linemen since 1990, Beebe has allowed just one sack among his 1,224 pass blocking snaps since the beginning of his sophomore season in 2021. He has started every game this season at left guard, seeing time at 759 snaps while also filling in at right tackle (106 snaps) and left tackle (20 snaps).
The third finalist for the Outland Trophy is Notre Dame OL Joe Alt.
The winner of the 78th Outland Trophy will be announced on The Home Depot College Football Awards, live on ESPN on Dec. 8 from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. EST.