Louisiana football’s right guard AJ Gillie has been named to the Outland Trophy preseason watch list. The announcement was made Tuesday by the Football Writers Association of America.
The Outland Trophy is awarded annually to the best interior lineman in the country. 2023 will mark the 78th year the trophy will be given to the recipient with the announcement being made in December during the Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN.
Gillie started all 13 games for the Cajuns last season as he was ranked the best lineman in the Sun Belt conference. He recorded a team-high 53 knockdowns as 11 of those came against the South Alabama Jaguars.
The redshirt junior, who was one of 24 guards on the list was given a grade of 80 or higher in 11 of the game last year, including a 93 in three separate contests.
A few LSU Tigers also made the Outland Trophy watch list, including offensive linemen in Will Campbell and Emory Jones as well as defensive lineman Mekhi Wingo.
Coach Brian Kelly’s squad is just one of six programs in the country with at least three players on the list. Other teams with that amount or more are Michigan with four and Georgia, Alabama, Utah, and Ohio State had three as well.
Campbell and Jones return return to the Tigers this season as the duo started for a combined 25 games in 2022. That made history as they became the first true freshman set of linemen to be named starting tackles in the same year.
Campbell was awarded second-team All-SEC honors and was a Freshman All-American last season. He also played in every snap against all eight SEC matchups that he appeared in.
Jones took over the right tackle position three games into the season last year. The Baton Rouge native rarely ever came off the field, which helped propel him to being a Freshman All-American and earned Freshman All-SEC honors.
After Maason Smith went down early last year, one player who stepped up and became an anchor for the defensive line was Mekhi Wingo. The St. Louis native recorded 47 tackles, six tackles for loss, and three sacks as he earned third-team All-America honors and was selected to the All-SEC second team.
The first game for both programs will begin the first week of September as the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns will host the Northwestern State Demons on Saturday the 2nd at 6:30 p.m. while the Fighting Tigers of LSU will be the home team, but will travel to Orlando, Florida to host the Florida State Seminoles on Sunday the 3rd at 6:30 p.m.