For the second time today, LSU junior defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin finds himself on a preseason watch list. After being named to the Nagurski Award watch list Tuesday morning, Shelvin earned a spot on the Outland Trophy watch list a few hours later.
The winner of the annual award--presented by the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America)--is deemed the best interior lineman in the country. One of the oldest national awards in the college football ranks, the Outland Award has produced just one winner out of LSU since its inaugural year in 1942.
LSU legend Glenn Dorsey was the winner of the award in 2007 for the Tigers, capping off his illustrious career with a national championship and eventually becoming a top-10 pick. Shelvin is viewed in a similar manner to that of Dorsey, though his numbers don't quite prove the true impact he has on the Tigers program.
Defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, who was in Baton Rouge in 2007 when Dorsey was wrecking havoc on the SEC, sees a lot of similarities in the two.
"Tyler Shelvin, I think he can be as good as he wants to be," Pelini said on Hangin' With Hester back in April. "I think he is a really talented kid. I am excited about him. He does some things, now. He is way bigger than Glenn was at this point in his career, but there are times you see that 72 and he reminds me of Dorsey - he’s just about 70 pounds bigger than Glenn was at that point. But we have guys that can play."
As a sophomore, Shelvin recorded 39 tackles and three tackles for a loss. But those stats don't even begin to tell the story of how key he was to the Tigers' success in 2019. As a full time starter, Shelvin was one of the SEC's top run stuffers and will return with very similar expectations to hold.
His ability to absorb multiple offensive linemen on a given play was special as it might not have allowed him to have the success he wanted, but it made it easier on his surrounding teammates to make plays.
Coach Ed Orgeron envisions another standout performance from the junior who was the No. 1 player in the state back in 2017 when he first arrived.
"Big T has come along. He's matured. He lost weight, not enough yet. I think he's really taken it upon himself to get serious about football in the last yea," Orgeron said on "Off the Bench" in April. "Really got into the techniques that we were teaching him. Loves playing football. I thought he had a dominant year. I expect him to have another dominant year this year. He's having a good offseason. Can't wait to have him back. Great young man from the state of Louisiana. Great family. I'm just so proud of him."
Shelvin still has some work to do in the weight department according to Orgeron, who said Tuesday the team wants him to drop some more weight before the season. If all goes to plan, there could even be some instances where LSU lines up Shelvin with promising sophomore defensive tackle Siaki "Apu" Ika, who currently sits at a whopping 6-foot-4, 340 pounds.