Boyd, Harris named to Outland watch list

J.T. Boyd and Ike Harris were named to the 2015 Outland Trophy watch list. The upperclassmen lead an offensive line that helped the Pirates average 553 yards per game a season ago.

East Carolina junior center J.T. Boyd and senior offensive tackle Ike Harris have been named to the 2015 Outland Trophy Watch List, according to an announcement by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Friday.

The upperclassmen, who both earned Second-Team All-American Athletic Conference honors a year ago, join former ECU standouts Brian Rimpf (2002-03) and Will Simmons (2013) as the most recent Outland Trophy Watch List candidates, which is given annually to the nation’s top interior lineman.

Both Boyd and Harris helped anchor an offensive line that produced four 100-yard rushers, while providing pass protection for six 400-yard efforts by 2014 quarterback Shane Carden. The duo were key members of a unit that produced 500 yards or more of total offense eight times and stood among the national team leaders in passing offense (3rd/371.9 pg), total offense (5th/533.0 pg) and scoring (22nd/35.8 ppg). They also helped ECU turn in its first 2,000-yard rushing campaign since 2009 last fall, while averaging 4.8 yards per run – the unit’s highest per-carry total since 2007.

Boyd and Harris are the fourth and fifth Pirates named to a preseason watch list this season following, Isaiah Jones (Paul Hornung Award/July 6), Zeek Bigger (Chuck Bednarik Award/July 7) and Bryce Williams (John Mackey Award/July 8).

The Outland Trophy winner is chosen from three finalists who are a part of the FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the entire membership, selects the 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.

This year’s list will be trimmed to six or seven semifinalists on Nov. 19. Five days later three Outland Trophy finalists will be named by the FWAA. The winner of the 70th Outland Trophy, named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Penn at the turn of the 20th century, will be announced on ESPN on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 10 for the first time from the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

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