The Outland Trophy is presented to the best interior lineman in college football on offense or defense.
O'Connell, a fourth-year junior from Wenatchee, has started nine games at left guard for the No. 20 Cougars (8-2, 7-0 Pac-12).
His first career start at WSU came just this season, tutoring under WSU o-line coach Clay McGuire.
O’Connell in 2016 has helped protect for the nation’s second-rated passing offense (385.5) and blocked for a rushing attack that owns six 100-yard efforts including three 200-yard performances. WSU’s run game has gone from 80.1 ypg in 2015 to 132.0 ypg this season.
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The five Outland semifinalists – all offensive linemen – in alphabetical order, are: Pat Elflein, Ohio State; Cody O’Connell, Washington State; Ethan Pocic, LSU; Cam Robinson, Alabama; and Connor Williams, Texas.
O'Connell was named to the Midseason All-America First Team by FOX Sports and CBSSports.com, and Midseason All-America second team by Sports Illustrated. More recently, he was ranked second nationally among guards and best in the country as a pass-blocker by Pro Football Focus.
Three finalists will be announced on Nov. 22,. The winner of the 2016 Outland Trophy will be announced Dec. 8.