UW's Bainivalu, Kirkland Land on Outland Trophy Watch List

For the Huskies' offensive guard, this marks his first individual national attention of any kind.

Some people refer to the Outland Trophy as the college lineman's Heisman.

For Henry Bainivalu, it's simply his first taste of national recognition, with the University of Washington offensive guard joining Husky offensive tackle Jaxson Kirkland on the Outland's 80-player watch list.

Kirkland has received nonstop attention for being one of the college football's elite blockers, earning first-team All-America and first-round NFL draft status from various entities.

Until now, Bainivalu has been waiting in the wings as one of Kirkland's loyal wingmen, likely wondering if anyone has been closely watching him play.

With his Outland recognition, the answer is yes.

The 6-foot-6, 340-pound Bainivalu and the 6-foot-7, 317-pound Kirkland represent two-fifths of the Huskies' largest line in school history. 

A junior from Sammamish, Washington, Bainivalu became a starter for the first time at the end of the 2019 season — as a replacement for an injured Kirkland, starting the Apple Cup against Washington State and the Las Vegas Bowl against Boise State.

With Kirkland moving to left tackle last season, Bainivalu settled in as the first-teamer at right guard and the starter over four more games, earning All-Pac-12 honorable mention honors.

He's ready for a full season now as the main man at his spot, welcoming any and all attention.

For 75 years, the trophy has been given to the nation's most outstanding interior lineman, with the Huskies winning it once before with defensive tackle Steve Emtman in 1991.

Eighteen schools, including the UW, had more than one interior lineman placed on the watch list. 

Eight players from the Pac-12 were singled out for Outland recognition. Curiously, USC and UCLA had no players nominated, while conference favorite Oregon had just one, center Alex Forsyth.

Same as the Huskies, Arizona State supplied a pair of Outland candidates in center Dohnovan West and defensive tackle Jermayne Lole.

Other Pac-12 players singled out were Washington State offensive tackle Abraham Lucas, Stanford offensive tackle Walter Rouse and Oregon State center Nathan Eldridge.

The conference has had eight Outland winners, including Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell in 2019; Stanford offensive guard Joshua Garnett, son of former Husky defensive lineman Scott Garnett, in 2009; Washington State defensive tackle Rien Long in 2002; UCLA offensive tackle Kris Farris in 1998; UCLA offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden in 1995; Arizona defensive lineman Rob Waldrop in 1993; Emtman in '91, before becoming the NFL's No. 1 overall draft pick; and USC offensive tackle Ron Yary, whose son Jack was briefly a Husky tight end last fall, in 1967.

Of the current watch-list selections, 27 of them are offensive tackles, 25 are offensive guards, 16 are centers and 13 are defensive tackles.

Find Husky Maven on Facebook by searching: HuskyMaven/Sports Illustrated

Follow Dan Raley of Husky Maven on Twitter: @DanRaley1 and @HuskyMaven