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The Piesman Trophy: college football’s greatest award

What it is, why it exists, and who’s won it.

What is the Piesman Trophy?

The short answer: an award we made up because we wanted to have fun.

The long answer: an award for linemen who do un-lineman-like things. Typically, that means offensive or defensive linemen who catch, throw, or run with the ball.

Our voting panel is made up of staff members here and at other places that cover college football. We also have a fan ballot that counts toward the final tally.

What’s the trophy look like?

When did the Piesman begin?

The 2015 season.

Who are the all-time winners?

2015

Southeastern Louisiana’s Ashton Henderson, on the strength of this nimble scoop-and-score:

The other finalists that year were Michigan State’s Jack Allen and Miami’s Ufomba Kamalu.

2016

Pitt’s Brian O’Neill, who caught a lateral that functioned as a surprise screen pass and ran it home:

The other two 2016 finalists were Oklahoma State’s Vincent Taylor and Monmouth College’s Kolton Koch.

2017

Heidelberg’s Brock Riggs, for this hook-and-lateral touchdown against Capital, which included the 290-pounder flipping into the end zone:

He beat out Saint Francis’ Louie Gartner and Wyoming’s Carl Granderson.

2018

Tennessee defensive end Kyle Phillips, who intercepted a pass against Alabama and rumbled 27 yards for a score. Phillips’ acceptance speech included him eating actual pie and thanking Jalen Hurts, the QB who threw the ball to him:

Phillips’ fellow finalists were Iowa’s Sam Brincks, UAB’s Garrett Marino, Incarnate Word’s Darrius Montgomery, and Vanderbilt’s Louis Vecchio.

2019

Culver-Stockton offensive lineman Andrew Rupcich became the first player to win the Piesman by throwing the ball:

Nebraska’s Darrion Daniels and Appalachian State’s Demetrius Taylor were finalists.

Who votes on the Piesman?

A panel including former pro and college linemen, media people who cover football and/or food, and a ballot assembled by our readers.

Why does this award exist?

College football should be fun. Big guys making plays with the ball is fun. And while the Heisman and most historic awards are reserved for players from big schools, the Piesman is a great chance to appreciate cool moments from throughout the sport.

Finalists have included players from the FBS power conferences, the Group of 5, the FCS, and Division III. We’ve enjoyed the opportunity to appreciate some of those players’ contributions to college football being as fun as it is.

College football fans know that success on either side of the ball starts with the linemen, the often unsung heroes of the team. We’re proud to give out an award that gives these guys the celebration they deserve, because we think there’s nothing more exciting than a touchdown or interception or long pass from a player you weren’t expecting it from.