The Football Writers Association of America announced today that tackle Mitch Hyatt has earned Outland Trophy Offensive Player of the Month honors for October.
Hyatt should need little introduction for those following college football the past three seasons. The 6-5, 310-pound senior from Suwanee, Ga., was an FWAA second-team All-American last year and now has 50 starts in 51 games played at Clemson (8-0) that includes three consecutive seasons and five career games in the College Football Playoff.
Clemson’s anchor at left tackle, whose uncle Dan Benish was an All-ACC defensive tackle on the Tigers’ 1981 national championship team, was the leading vote-getter in the preseason All-ACC selection process. Hyatt has helped Clemson’s offense approach record territory as it looks to earn a 9-0 record for the third time in the last four years (also 2015 and ’16). The Tigers are attempting to tie a school record Saturday by scoring 40 points in a fourth consecutive game, and have won their last three by 60, 34 and 49 points. A 30-point winning margin Saturday would make this the first Clemson team to win four straight by 30-plus points.
The Tigers enter the week as the only program in the country in the top 10 in both total offense (522.6 yards per game, tied for eighth) and total defense (263.9, third). Hyatt and the rest of the offensive line have helped running back Travis Etienne get to the verge (845 yards) of a 1,000-yard rushing season as Clemson has posted 450 yards of total offense in six straight games. The Tigers’ yardage differential (+258.7) is the best in the country. More specifically to Hyatt’s left tackle spot, the Tigers have allowed only 12 sacks this season, and Saturday could post back-to-back games with no sacks allowed for the first time since 2012.
Hyatt has had a decorated and expansive career at Clemson – his expected 51st career start this Saturday against Louisville will extend his school record for career starts by an offensive lineman, and is one start shy of tying Clemson’s school record of 52 for any position held by kicker Chandler Catanzaro. Hyatt was the first position player in Clemson history to record 50 career starts and will likely break the school record for career snaps from scrimmage against Louisville. The three-year letterman, with 3,343 career snaps, needs only 19 more to pass center Dalton Freeman (2009-12) for the all-time lead.
The recipient of the 73rd Outland Trophy will be announced during ESPN’s The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 6, live from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. The official presentation to the winner will be made at the Outland Trophy Awards Dinner produced by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee on Jan. 9, 2019. Up to seven semifinalists will be named on Nov. 14 in Omaha and three finalists for the award will be announced on Nov. 19.