Wisconsin's Thomas, a 6-8, 306-pound senior from Brookfield, Wis., has appeared in 42 games, including 33 starts. He has overcome ACL knee surgery last January after filling in on the defensive line in the Capital One Bowl Game against Auburn. But this season he has been the mainstay for an offense which has produced the top freshman runner in college football, P.J. Hill., on a team which fiished he regular season 11-1 and lost only to Michigan.
Blalock, at 6-4, 329-pound senior from Plano, Texas, hasn't allowed a sack in 26 games for Texas (9-2). He had started 44 straight games at right tackle, but was moved to right guard for the last five games because of an injury to another UT lineman. Of Texas' 22 rushing touchdowns this season, 16 have been behind Blalock, whose 49 straight starts match the school record of 1996 Outland Trophy finalist, Dan Neil.
Mozes, a 6-4, 290-pound senior from Washington, Pa., is a four-year starter, and anchors a Mountaineer offensive line which has paved the way for the Big East Conference's most prolific rusher in Slaton. Mozes is one of the key movers on the line, and is a non-stop worker for once-beaten a West Virginia team, which ranks second in the country in rushing offense, total offense and scoring offense. The Outland Trophy, which has been awarded by the FWAA since 1946, is named after the late John Outland, a lineman at Pennsylvania at the turn of the century. The Outland Trophy is the third oldest award in major college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award. The official award presentation will be Jan. 11 in Omaha, Neb., at a banquet sponsored by the Omaha Sports Committee. Notre Dame's Bill Fischer, the third Outland Trophy winner in 1948, is expected to receive his trophy there as well.
Slaton was named a Doak Walker finalist along with Michigan's Mike Hart and Arkansas' Darren McFadden. The recipient of the 2006 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on ESPN's The Home Depot College Football Awards at 7 p.m. (EST) on Thursday, December 7. The award will be presented at the 2006 Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet in Dallas on Thursday, February 15, 2007.
Hart, a junior from Syracuse, New York, has rushed for 1,515 yards and 14 touchdowns this season, and ranks fourth nationally in total rushing yards. He has averaged more rushing yards per game (122.6) than any back in Michigan history. Hart was a semifinalist for the Award in 2005.
McFadden, a sophomore from Little Rock, Arkansas, has rushed for 1,303 yards and accounted for 15 touchdowns this season. He leads the SEC in total rushing yards and yards per game and has scored touchdowns rushing, receiving and passing in 2006. McFadden averaged 120 rushing yards per contest in four games against nationally-ranked opponents this season and is the third back in Arkansas history to have back-to-back 1,000 rushing season.
Slaton, a sophomore from Levittown, Pennsylvania, has rushed for 1,578 yards and scored 16 touchdowns in 2006. He leads the nation averaging 187 all-purpose yards per game, and is tied for the national lead in rushing yards per game with 157.8 per contest. He ranks second nationally in total rushing yards. Slaton has rushed for over 100 yards in 14 of his 17 career starts.
In addition to outstanding performance on the field, candidates for the Doak Walker Award must have demonstrated records of leadership and exhibited the characteristics of sportsmanship and fair play associated with Doak Walker. The award is named after the three-time SMU All-American running back and 1948 Heisman Trophy winner. The versatile Walker, who also punted, returned kicks and kicked extra points, led the Mustangs to two Southwest Conference Championships and brought the school into the national spotlight. Walker was drafted by the Detroit Lions and as a rookie led the league in scoring. During his six years with the Lions, he led the team to two NFL championships and was chosen All-Pro four times. Walker is a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.