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Pitt’s O’Neill, Officer Candidates for Outland Trophy
(Photo of Alex Officer. Photo courtesy of Pitt Athletics)
O’Neill enters his junior campaign after a memorable sophomore season that included being named the 2016 Piesman Trophy winner and an All-ACC offensive tackle.
O’Neill’s touchdown-scoring exploits against Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech on designed run plays last year earned him recognition from SB Nation’s Piesman committee, and his blocking abilities didn’t going unnoticed as the league’s coaches (second team) and media (third team) both voted him to the All-ACC squads.
While O’Neill boasts a 25-game start streak on Pitt’s offensive line, Officer owns the team’s longest tally of consecutive starts made at 34 games heading into his final collegiate season.
Capable of playing center or guard, Officer is expected to be a senior stalwart on the Panthers’ offensive line again this fall. Officer started all 13 contests at center last season for Pitt, following a 2015 campaign in which he opened every game at guard. As a redshirt freshman in 2014, Officer also played in every game, starting the final 10 at center.
Pitt is no stranger to the Outland Trophy, with defensive tackle Aaron Donald, now a perennial Pro Bowler with the Los Angeles Rams, having won the award in 2013 following his stellar senior season for the Panthers. Panthers’ offensive line legend Mark May also received the Outland Trophy in 1980.
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