WSU's Cody O'Connell has a chance to win the trophy he was a finalist for last season

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After finishing his breakout junior season as one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy that’s awarded to college football’s best lineman, Washington State’s Cody O’Connell was likely a shoo-in for the 2017 Outland Trophy Watch List that was released Thursday morning.

O’Connell was one of 10 Pac-12 players on this year’s Outland Trophy Watch List. The Cougars’ 6-foot-8, 370-pound senior guard — whom Mike Leach nicknamed “The Continent” — will reprise his role at left guard this season. He played his junior season at 354 pounds, and has already added about 16 pounds of muscle to his huge frame.

O’Connell was joined on the watch list by another returning Outland Trophy finalist — Texas offensive tackle Connor Williams. The 81-member list will be parsed down to no more than seven semifinalists on Nov. 15. Then, about a week later, the Football Writers’ Association of America will name three finalists and the winner will be announced live on ESPN at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 7.

O’Connell, who is from Wenatchee, finished his junior year as WSU’s second-ever unanimous All-American  — though, mysteriously, he was not named an All-Pac-12 first team selection.

Earlier this week, O’Connell was also named to the Maxwell Award watch list.