USC’s Toa Lobendahn named to Outland Trophy Watch List for 2018

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

USC offensive lineman Toa Lobendahn was named to the Outland Trophy Watch List for 2018 on Tuesday, as a candidate to be hailed as the nation’s best interior lineman.

It didn’t take long for USC’s Toa Lobendahn to end up on another watch list, following up last week’s Rimington Trophy nod with one from the Outland Trophy on Tuesday.

The Outland Trophy is aimed towards honoring the nation’s best interior lineman, whether on offense or defense.

Lobendahn qualified for the watch list as an offensive tackle after starting 13 games at left tackle in 2017. He was an All-Pac-12 second team selection in that spot.

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However, the redshirt senior figures to lineup at center in 2018, a position he’s long been destined for if not for a string of unfortunate injury issues.

Back in 2015 he took over the starting center job when Max Tuerk was sidelined with a knee injury. Lobendahn himself suffered a knee injury soon after and missed out until 2016, when he started the season once more at the top of the depth chart. Then another season-ending knee injury struck during the season opener.

Proving his ability to stay healthy in 2017 at tackle, the Trojans will now hope he can lead the line from the middle while living up to expectations which have followed him since his Freshman All-American debut.

From both sides of the game, USC will take on several other Outland Trophy candidates.

On the offensive line, Stanford’s Nate Herbig and Jess Burkett will present a challenge, along with Texas’ Patrick Vahe, Utah’s Lo Falemaka, Cal’s Patrick Mekari and Notre Dame’s Alex Bars and Sam Mustipher

Over on defense, the Trojans will contend with Irish defensive lineman Jerry Tillery.

Though they won’t see them during the regular season, Washington offensive linemen Trey Adams and Kaleb McGary and defensive lineman Greg Gaines or Oregon offensive linemen Calvin Throckmorton and Jake Hanson and defensive lineman Jordon Scott could be waiting in the Pac-12 title game.

Ron Yary remains USC’s lone Outland Trophy winner, earning that honor in 1967. Tony Boselli was a finalist in 1994.