One of only a few players in history to be named All-America at two positions, John Outland garnered consensus All-America honors in 1897 at tackle and consensus All-America honors at back in 1898. He played at the University of Pennsylvania during those seasons.
Outland actually began his football career at Penn College in Oskaloosa, Iowa, in 1891-92. He captained the team and led it in scoring in 1892.
In the fall of 1895, Outland entered the University of Kansas. He lettered at tackle that season when the Jayhawks posted a 6-1 record. He later transferred to the University of Pennsylvania to pursue a medical degree. From 1897-99, Outland and fellow Hall of Fame teammate Truxton Hare led Penn to a 35-4-2 record. He was the captain in 1898.
Outland served in the Army Medical Corps as a surgeon during World War I, rising to the rank of major. After the war, he returned to Kansas to practice medicine and coach football. He coached Franklin and Marshall in 1900, Kansas in 1901, Washburn from 1904-05, and Haskell Indian School in 1906. He was director of athletics at Kansas and in 1923 founded the Kansas Relays. He was on the teaching staff at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.
A popular speaker at football meetings, Outland often commented that interior linemen (tackles, guards, centers) should receive more recognition for their performance, and he conceived of the Outland Trophy as a means of providing the recognition. First presented in 1946, the Football Writers Association has annually awarded the Outland Trophy, named for him, ever since. The award, which goes to the nation's best interior lineman on offense or defense, ranks among the most prestigious awards in college football.
Outland was born March 17, 1871 in Hesper, Kansas. He died March 24, 1947 in Laguna Beach, California, and he was posthumously inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.