Lineman are truly incredible athletes. There is no way around it. Often times we forget about lineman, especially offensive lineman, because their jobs aren't as glamorous as the skill positions. Few children grow up and think "I want to be an NFL lineman when I grow up," and I think that's tragic. One of my favorite sports movies is the blind side. This isn't just because of the heartwarming storyline or the beautiful Sandra Bullock, but because it did wonders for public appreciation of the big boys.
This year, SB Nation is one upping Sandra B. by presenting the inaugural Piesman Trophy Award to lineman for doing decidedly un-lineman things. Last week's game in Lawrence was one I'm sure most of you would soon forget. However there was a play in that game that we will remember for a long time. After a Deandre Washington touchdown, Texas Tech lined up to run the swinging gate play for the 2-point conversion. Left tackle Le'Raven Clark lined up in the position that would be the primary ball carrier in the play and ran into the end zone for a glorious two points.
There are a couple of things I'd like to point out right off the bat. First: that snap was completely legal and awesome. Nowhere in the NCAA rulebook does it say that the ball must be snapped between the legs. Second: there is not a kicker on the field. Unless he is hiding as one of the blockers for Le'Raven, this was the play from the get go. That's what the Piesman is all about.
I met Le'Raven for the first time yesterday after class and I asked him if he had heard of the Piesman trophy. Unsurprisingly he had not. So I told him about the award and the pie and how I was advocating his candidacy. He seemed amused at the concept and thanked me for my contribution to his campaign. Texas Tech this is your Piesman candidate: a kind and soft-spoken man who, like most of us, wouldn't mind some free pie.
If you look a smidge further back in the season, you will find another moment in which Clark furthered his Piesman candidacy. There was a moment during the TCU game in that final lateral play in which DeAndre Washington pitched the ball to Clark. Le'Raven ran about seven yards then while being taken out by a TCU defender threw a perfect lateral to Devin Lauderdale. It was a brief moment but it should still be added to the Piesman highlight reel.
On top of all the non-lineman football talents Clark possesses, he is also a highly talented left tackle. Just yesterday the senior was named to ESPN's All-Conference Team. One of my personal favorite moments in TTU football this year was when Clark obliterated Shawn Oakman.
Shawn Oakman is a monstrously large human and it takes a great deal of force to knock him down. But Le'Raven Clark is no ordinary man. This play won't help his Piesman campaign but it sure is fun to watch.
Piesman voters: you have been notified. Le'Raven Clark is a bona fide candidate for this wonderful award. The Kansas game was only the beginning and I can't wait to watch his encore.