North Carolina State offensive lineman Ikem Ekwonu has been named a finalist for the Outland Trophy.

The award is given annually to the nation’s best interior lineman. He’s a finalist alongside Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum and Georgia defensive lineman Jordan Davis.

Ekwonu is in his third season with the Wolfpack. In 2020, he was named second team All ACC by the Associated Press. In 2019, multiple outlets designated him as a freshman All-American.

So far in 2021, Ekwonu has lived up to the expectations that he created during his first two seasons. He’s developed into arguably the ACC’s best offensive lineman and has helped NC State to an 8-3 overall record.

NC State enters the final week with a chance at the Atlantic division title. The Wolfpack need a win over North Carolina on Friday and they need Wake Forest to lose at Boston College on Saturday.

The Outland Trophy has been awarded since 1946. North Carolina State has had one winner — Jim Ritcher back in 1979. The last ACC player to win the honor was Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald back in 2013.