The Long Of It

By Adam Caparell - November 20, 2007

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Michigan tackle Jake Long is one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy, given annually to the nation's top interior lineman. But what might catch some by surprise is that Long, if he wins the award over LSU DT Glenn Dorsey and Kansas tackle Anthony Collins, would be the first Wolverine to take home the Outland in the program's illustrious history.

Michigan has had 15 Consensus All-American offensive or defensive linemen since the Outland Trophy was first handed out in 1946 and never a winner. Long, in fact, was one of those 15 last season, but wasn't good enough to be a finalist as Texas' Justin Blalock, West Virginia's Dan Mozes and Wisconsin's Joe Thomas were the final three with Thomas winning the award (and being selected third overall in April's draft).

It's hard to argue against giving Long the trophy considering he helped open up more holes than you can count for Mike Hart - and Long was a big reason why Hart returned to Michigan for his senior season in the first place.

Hart, before he missed several games due to an ankle injury, was at one time the leading rusher in the country and finished the season with 1,232 yards and 12 TD. Long himself allowed only one sack this season and was not penalized in 12 games.

If Long is lucky enough to win the trophy, chances are he's going to be considered one of the game's greats. Thirty-three Outland winners have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame including Mark May, Chad Hennings, Bruce Smith and Ron Yary. And winning the award usually leads to professional success: six of the past eight winners have been taken in the first round of the NFL Draft and overall 34 have been taken in the first round since 1946. Seven have been chosen first overall.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 05:46 PM on November 20, 2007

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