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2015 NFL DRAFT

Rimington Trophy (Nation's Top Center) Announces 2012 Watch List

By Rob Rang | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com

For those of us eagerly anticipating the return of football, one of the annual rites of late spring that helps set the tone for the upcoming season is the announcement of preseason award watch lists. On Friday, the Rimington Trophy, which annually recognizes the nation's top center, released its Top 50 Watch List.

The Rimington Trophy is of particular interest to NFL draft fans because their winners generally are highly regarded in the scouting community as well as terrific collegiate players. Nine of the 13 winners (award began in 2000) were drafted. Former Florida Gator All-American Maurkice Pouncey (who won the award in 2009) was the highest drafted of the past Rimington Trophy winners as the No. 18 overall pick of the 2010 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. David Baas (2004), Jake Grove (2003), LeCharles Bentley (2001) and the first player ever to be given the Rimington Trophy -- former Nebraska standout Dominic Raiola -- joined Pouncey as top 50 selections in their respective NFL drafts. Furthermore, each of the four who were not drafted -- 2010 winner Jake Kirkpatrick (TCU), Dan Mozes (2006, West Virginia), Ben Wilkerson (a co-winner with Baas in 2004, LSU) and Brett Romberg (2002, Miami) were each signed as undrafted free agents and spent at least one season in the NFL.

The Rimington Trophy was named for Dave Rimington, the only two-time Outland Trophy Award (as nation's top interior lineman) from the center position, who was voted a unanimous All-American for Nebraska in 1981-82. While the trophy is named after Rimington, the award itself was created by sportswriter Syd Russell and 14-year NFL quarterback and current CBS Sports analyst Boomer Esiason. The two men created the award in 2000 in large part due to the fact that center was the only position on the football field in which no individual award existed.

Of the 50 centers listed below, there are several highly regarded by NFLDraftScout.com as potential NFL prospects, including our top-rated center for the 2013 draft -- Southern Cal's Khaled Holmes and Alabama's Barrett Jones, who will play at center this season for the Crimson Tide but has seen time at all four exterior positions earlier in his career and is currently projected by NFLDraftScout.com as a guard.

The following is an excerpt from the official release from RimingtonTrophy.com.

The Rimington Trophy committee has released its 2012 Spring Watch List.

The list includes 21 returning players from the 2011 Watch List. In all, there are 50 players on the Watch List. The SEC leads the way with nine players, while the ACC, Big Ten, and PAC-12 check in with five candidates each. In addition, there are two graduate students and seven sophomores on the Watch List.

The following is a list of those named to the 2012 Rimington Trophy Spring Watch List.

Eloy Atkinson UTEP 6'3" 305 Senior
Mario Benavides Louisville 6'4" 301 RS Senior
Nick Carlson Wyoming 6'4" 292 Senior
Braxston Cave Notre Dame 6'3" 304 Graduate
Reese Dismukes Auburn 6'3" 302 Sophomore
Trent Dupy Tulsa 6'2" 285 Senior
Dillon Farrell New Mexico 6'5" 290 Junior
James Ferentz Iowa 6'2" 284 Senior
Jay Finch Georgia Tech 6'3" 283 RS Junior
B.J. Finney Kansas State 6'4" 303 Sophomore
Travis Frederick Wisconsin 6'4" 328 Junior
Dalton Freeman Clemson 6'5" 285 Graduate
James Fry TCU 6'3" 290 Senior
Kevin Galeher Western Michigan 6'3" 300 Senior
Hronis Grasu Oregon 6'3" 284 Sophomore
Ben Habern Oklahoma 6'4" 292 Senior
Gus Handler Colorado 6'3" 295 Junior
Jonotthan Harrison Florida 6'3" 300 RS Junior
Khaled Holmes USC 6'4" 305 Senior
Andre Huval Louisiana-Lafayette 6'1" 305 Junior
Alec Johnson San Diego State 6'3" 300 Senior
T.J. Johnson South Carolina 6'6" 319 Senior
Barrett Jones Alabama 6'5" 302 Senior
Zac Kerin Toledo 6'5" 294 Junior
Tyler Larsen Utah State 6'4" 308 Junior
Patrick Lewis Texas A&M 6'2" 306 Senior
P.J. Lonergan LSU 6'4" 305 Senior
Mackey MacPerson Syracuse 6'2" 269 Junior
Joe Madsen West Virginia 6'4" 310 RS Senior
Mike Marboe Idaho 6'3" 301 Sophomore
Will Matte Indiana 6'2" 290 RS Senior
Blake McJunkin SMU 6'2" 295 Senior
Andrew Miller Virginia Tech 6'4" 300 RS Junior
Graham Pocic Illinois 6'7" 305 Senior
Ryan Powis Army 6'0" 257 Sophomore
Austin Quattrochi Southern Mississippi 6'3" 292 RS Junior
Jordan Rae UCF 6'2" 275 Senior
Weston Richburg Colorado State 6'4" 297 Junior
Sam Schwartzstein Stanford 6'3" 290 Senior
Matt Smith Kentucky 6'4" 291 Senior
Matt Stankiewitch Penn State 6'3" 295 Senior
Tevita Stevens Utah 6'3" 302 Senior
Travis Swanson Arkansas 6'5" 305 Junior
Evan Swindall Ole Miss 6'2" 300 Junior
Ryan Turnley Pittsburgh 6'6" 320 Senior
Brandon Vitabile Northwestern 6'3" 300 Sophomore
Stephen Warner Louisiana Tech 6'0" 295 RS Senior
Robert Waterman UNLV 6'2" 290 Sophomore
Camden Wentz NC State 6'3" 225 Senior

The winner will be honored at Rimington Trophy Presentation banquet at the Rococo Theater in Lincoln, Nebraska on January 12, 2013.

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