(Editor's note: UW Athletics release)
LARAMIE, Wyo. - University of Wyoming football standouts Keegan Cryder and Chad Muma have been added to a pair of national award watch lists.
For the second consecutive season, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) have named Cryder to the Outland Trophy Watch List. The Outland Trophy is presented annually to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman.
The FWAA recognized 80 returning standout interior linemen representing all 10 Division I FBS conferences along with student-athletes from independent teams. The 2021 season continues a celebration of the award’s 75th anniversary and the watch list presents a talented field of players to accompany three returning FWAA All-Americans.
The 2020 season saw Cryder and his Wyoming offensive line mates help the Cowboys generate 219.5 rushing yards per game to rank No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 14 nationally. Xazavian Valladay ranked No. 17 in the nation in rushing, and Trey Smith ranked No. 48. Valladay also led the Mountain West in rushing, averaging 110.0 yards per game, while Smith averaged 81.3 rushing yards per game to rank No. 6 in the Mountain West.
In 2019, the junior lineman was a key to the Wyoming offense ranking No. 2 in the MW and No. 23 in the NCAA in rushing offense, averaging 214.8 rushing yards per game. He helped Wyoming rank No. 4 in the Mountain West and No. 32 in the nation in fewest sacks allowed (1.62 per game). Cryder also helped pave the way for running back Valladay to record a 1,000-yard rushing season (1,265 yards) in 2019. Valladay led the Mountain West and ranked No. 18 in the nation in rushing yards per game (105.4).
Cryder was a leader of a Wyoming offensive line unit that was one of only two Mountain West O-Lines and one of only 24 nationally to be named to the Joe Moore Award Midseason Honor Roll for 2019.
Only interior linemen on offense (centers, guards and tackles) and defense (tackles and nose tackles) are eligible for the Outland Trophy. The 2021 Outland Trophy Watch List includes 26 offensive tackles, 24 guards, 17 centers and 13 defensive tackles/nose tackles. Ends are not eligible. Additional candidates may be added to the watch list during the season.
The Outland Trophy, celebrating 75 years since its founding, is the third-oldest major college football award. Created in 1946 when Dr. John Outland presented the FWAA with a financial contribution to initiate the award, the Outland Trophy has been given to the best interior lineman in college football ever since. Dr. Outland, an All-American at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1890s, eventually took up practice in Kansas City, Mo. An avid outdoorsman, Dr. Outland believed linemen did not get the credit they deserved and wanted an award to recognize them.
The recipient of the 2021 Outland Trophy will be announced on The Home Depot College Football Awards, live on ESPN in December. The official presentation to the winner will be made at the Outland Trophy Awards Dinner sponsored by Werner Enterprises and produced by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee in Omaha, Neb., on Jan. 12, 2022.
Muma was named to the Butkus Award Watch List honoring the nation’s best linebacker.
Each watch list contains 51 linebackers, mirroring the legendary “51” pro jersey associated with the Award’s namesake Dick Butkus, who was recognized by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history.
The Collegiate Butkus Award watch list includes candidates from 51 different universities.
Muma made his mark as one of the nation’s top linebackers in 2020. He ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 3 in the nation in tackles, averaging 11.8 tackles per game. He also ranked No. 16 in the nation in solo tackles, averaging 5.5 per game. The junior was selected First Team All-Mountain West by MW head coaches and media in 2020.
He began the 2020 season with a career high 14 total tackles and a career best 10 solo tackles against Nevada in the season opener. Muma added seven tackles in Week 2 vs. Hawai’i, and set a new career tackle best with 18 tackles at Colorado State in Week 3. He had his third double-figure tackle game of the season at UNLV in Week 4, with 10 total tackles, and added 10 in one half of play at New Mexico. Muma concluded the 2020 season with 13 tackles vs. Boise State.
The High School Butkus Award watch list includes candidates from 51 secondary schools across 26 states, with Texas (6), Georgia (5) and Florida (4) fielding the most candidates.
Semi-finalists are expected to be named Nov. 1, finalists Nov. 22, and winners on or before Dec. 7.
Appearing on the watch list is not a requirement to win the award.
The 2020 Butkus Award winners were:
• Collegiate: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame (now with the Cleveland Browns)
• High School: Prince Kollie, David Crockett, Jonesborough, Tenn. (now at Notre Dame)
Formed in 1985, the Butkus Award honors linebackers at three levels while supporting causes important to the Butkus family. Causes include Butkus Takes Heart™ initiative encouraging early cardiovascular screening among adults, and the I Play Clean® initiative encouraging athletes to train naturally without performance-enhancing drugs.
The Butkus Award is partnering with Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage to celebrate Butkus Award winners. The event is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. Contact the Butkus Foundation for ticket and sponsorship information.
The Butkus Award® is presented by the Butkus Foundation and selected by a 51-member expert panel of coaches, scouts and journalists. The award is part of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. NCFAA’s 25 awards have honored more than 800 recipients since 1935.