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The official 2017 Piesman Trophy watch list: Presenting the country’s most entertaining linemen

The only award that recognizes unexpected versatility from men who usually toil in the trenches -- the linemen.

In 2017, the Piesman Trophy, college football’s only award for a lineman who runs with the ball, throws the ball, or catches the ball, returns for its third year. The first award went to defensive lineman Ashton Henderson for his 50-yard scoop and score in 2015. Last year, a trick play got offensive lineman Brian O’Neill a touchdown and the trophy.

We’ve got voters from Sports Illustrated, the Associated Press, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, The Athletic, ESPN, The Ringer, Uproxx Sports, and many other outlets. You’ll have the opportunity to be part of the fan vote as well. That’s basically everything we need to give out the Piesman this year, right?

Wrong! Per college football trophy law, we cannot begin the year without one essential element: a watch list.

We begin with the candidate who proved that there is such a thing as a good campaign ad.

Brian O’Neill, Pitt

We’ve yet to have a player win the Piesman more than once, but the Heisman’s way older, and it’s only happened once. Are we saying O’Neill has the chance to be a modern-day Archie Griffin?

Yes. Yes, we are.

Here’s the rest of the list, in alphabetical order.

Haston Adams, Mary Hardin-Baylor

McTelvin "Sosa" Agim, Arkansas

So many options from Arkansas, but we opted for Sosa over Frank Ragnow. In high school, the 290-pound Agim took direct snaps at QB and returned kickoffs for TDs. Go watch the tape on YouTube, because it's magical. - Arkansas Fight

Terry Beckner Jr., Missouri

The former blue-chipper is athletic and finally healthy, and if he picks up the ball after a sack-and-strip, he's taking it to the house. - Rock M Nation

Kyle Bosch, West Virginia

West Virginia, despite its assault on Big 12 defenses, has struggled in the red zone. Enter Kyle Bosch, an athletic lineman with a beaming personality who could help solve those woes by being the big man no one sees coming this year. - The Smoking Musket

Derrick Brown, Auburn

He's a big ol’ dude (6'5, 316), and he'll get to pick up the leftovers after Marlon Davidson makes the big play. Count on at least one big rumble from this guy when he comes across a loose ball. - College and Magnolia

Jesse Brubaker, Tulsa

Travis Bruffy, Texas Tech

Bradley Chubb, NC State

Chubb, preseason all-ACC and a potential first-round NFL draft pick, figures to be making a living in the backfield again. With the talent around him up front, he's going to have lots of opportunities to make some highlight-reel plays - Backing The Pack

Jimmy Converse, McNeese State

Darnell Davis, Rutgers

Nick Dehdashtian, UNLV

Will Dissly, Washington

As a former defensive lineman who made the conversion to TE so that he could "just play football," Dissly is essentially a sixth offensive lineman and a devastating blocker. He caught just four passes all season long, but one was for a 27-yard TD that had his teammates flipping out. - UW Dawg Pound

David Edwards, Wisconsin

A former prep quarterback who played tight end his redshirt season until moving to the offensive line last season, Edwards has the hands and the athletic ability to still make plays in the red zone as an extra tackle in jumbo packages. Though he is projected to start at one of the tackle spots, his versatility could be extremely special. - Bucky’s 5th Quarter

Folorunso "Foley" Fatukasi, UConn

Big, fast, mean, and disruptive, Fatukasi has been described by The UConn Blog dot com as a "destroyer of worlds" and a "grown-ass man" over the years. He was also our nominee for last season, but we have a new, more aggressive defense this year. He will eat. - The UConn Blog

Neville "Big Canada" Gallimore, Oklahoma

A 310-pound defensive tackle who runs a 4.72, is Canadian, and is named Neville. - Crimson and Cream Machine

Michael Gomez, Winona State

Eddquerion Harris, North Alabama

Taylor Hendrickson, Penn

Will Hernandez, UTEP

He showed up to be honored for his AP All-American award in a Pittsburgh Steelers Mexican zarape:

That should win something. - Miner Rush

Michael Jordan, Ohio State

His name is Michael Jordan; all the kid has to do is blow up one defender to instantly become a Twitter meme. He had a crappy true-freshman season as a starter and has to be chomping at the bit to turn his reputation around. Again, his name is Michael Jordan. - Land-Grant Holy Land

Jonathan Kongbo, Tennessee

Tyler Lancaster, Northwestern

Lanny is the perfect Piesman candidate. He's got the size (6’3, 310), strength (37 bench reps of 225), and the large, goofy appearance that fits the spirit of the award. He's also really good and important for Northwestern, which helps. - Inside NU

Mo Langi, BYU

Taboris Lee, Louisiana-Lafayette

Daylon Mack, A&M

He's big, quick, nasty, and due for a breakout season. Already with a knack for getting to the QB unopposed, he's bound to force a fumble and take it to the house. - Good Bull Hunting

K.J. Malone, LSU

LSU hired former Pitt offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who helped O'Neil take home this honor last year with a couple of touchdown-scoring play calls. Malone will be LSU's starting left tackle this season. Plus, think of all the shots of his dad, Karl Malone, after some of those tackle-eligible passes. - And The Valley Shook

Malik McMorris, Cal

Highlights for days. Two-sport student-athlete who also throws the discus and the shot put. Once named the Sports Illustrated high school athlete of the month. - California Golden Blogs

Cody O'Connell, Washington State

At 6’8 and 354 pounds, he’s been nicknamed "The Continent" by Mike Leach. That was before O’Connell was named an All-American after last season, and it was before he added *16 more pounds* prior to spring practices. - CougCenter

Sunny Odogwu, UCLA

At a recent season-ticket holder event, he was curling small children. His Twitter account describes him like this:

You've got to appreciate a guy who puts that on his Twitter account! - Bruins Nation

DeQuinton Osborne, Oklahoma State

Da'Ron Payne, Alabama

The strongest man in college football, Payne has always been around the ball, blowing up interior lines. As he's improved his pass rush and ball skills, he's turned into an every-game Piesman threat. It's only a matter of time until the monstrous nose tackle rumbles in for another score. - Roll ‘Bama Roll

Gelen Robinson, Purdue

The 6'1, 275-pound son of that Glenn Robinson (the No. 1 overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft) is a senior and back for more. Last season, he had a 78-yard interception return for a touchdown in the season opener that might have been the highlight of an otherwise dismal Purdue season. He has now shifted inside to defensive tackle but is still a threat after finishing in the top 10 of the Piesman last season. - Hammer and Rails

Tyler Robinson, Louisville

Tim Settle, Virginia Tech

He's huge. He has moves like Jagger. He is poised for a breakout season. - Gobbler Country

Kolton Shindelar, Tulsa

Kellen Soulek, SD State

Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame

His alter ego is Terry Jillery, and fans now think he's not a good player because he lost his cool against USC and stepped on a dude. He'll be ND's most experienced and best DL. - One Foot Down

Louis Vecchio, Penn

Kendal Vickers, Tennessee

Vickers is the one constant returning to Tennessee's line. The 6’3, 295-pound tackle led UT’s tackles with six TFLs and 2.5 sacks. If there's one big man who's going to get a chance to make a play for Tennessee, Vickers is my best bet. - Rocky Top Talk

Christian Wilkins, Clemson

McKinley Williams, Syracuse

At 6’4 and 292 pounds, the nose tackle can do a back handspring, which is athletic as hell (and could translate to the in-game agility necessary to win the Piesman). - Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician

Jonathan Wilson, Memphis

Daniel Wise, Kansas

Wise will be lining up next to Big 12 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, DE Dorance Armstrong Jr., at Kansas of all places! Keep an eye out for a rumblin', bumblin', stumblin' sack-strip fumble return or two this year, as these two torment offensive lines all season long. - Rock Chalk Talk

Of course, like all watch lists, this is only where we begin. When you see a lineman snagging an interception and bulldozing toward the end zone, or lining up under center before throwing a bomb, or doing anything else amazing and wonderful with the football, let us know by tweeting at the Piesman Trophy or using the #PIESMAN hashtag. Together, we’ll make sure linemen get the love they deserve.