2014 Preseason Award Projections: Rimington Trophy

By Charlie Campbell
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Heading into the 2014 college football season, WalterFootball.com will debut our projections for the nation’s leaders during the fall. The All-American teams always have some surprises, and this coming fall’s stars could be the headline players next May for the 2015 NFL Draft. We also will project the winners of the postseason awards that are given out to the best of college football.

The Rimington Trophy is given to the top center in college football.

Rimington Trophy Winner:

Reese Dismukes, Auburn

Two years ago, I predicted that Alabama center Barrett Jones would win the Riminigton Trophy, and Jones brought home the award. I was admittedly less confident last year, but I still got it right with Florida State’s Bryan Stork. This year, I feel have a good shot at making it three-straight seasons with Dismukes. He enters the season having been key part of a high-profile point-machine at Auburn.

Dismukes was a Rimington Trophy finalist last year after doing a tremendous job of protecting Nick Marshall while opening up a lot of lanes for Tre Mason. Dismukes was a First-Team SEC selection, and Auburn graded him out at 90 percent for the season.

Dismukes has continually gotten better over the past three seasons. He entered the starting lineup as a freshman and hasn’t looked back. The senior should continue to lead Auburn’s offensive line with his run blocking and pass protection. He should get a lot of notice in 2013 as the Tigers look to repeat as SEC champions.

Riminigton Runner-Up:

Hroniss Grasu, Oregon

Grasu broke into the starting lineup as a freshman and has spent the last three seasons as a key ingredient in Oregon’s high-powered offense. He has had a ton of success opening up running lanes for a talented stable of backs while also doing an effective job as a pass-blocker.

Grasu was an All-Freshman selection by many media outlets in 2011. As a sophomore, he was a First-Team Pac-12 selection and repeated that designation as a junior. Grasu was also one of six finalists for the Rimington Trophy last year. He also was selected for the Todd Doxey Award, which is chosen by Oregon for the player who is essentially the best and most positive teammate. The Ducks should have another prolific season with Grasu blocking for Marcus Mariota and the dynamic Oregon ground game. Grasu could easily be the Rimington winner for 2014.

Riminigton Dark Horse:

Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State

Seumalo quickly worked his way onto the field as he was made the starting center in his first fall practice as a freshman. Since then, Seumalo has been a reliable contributor for Oregon State. The freshman was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 performer in 2011. as a sophomore, he improved and was a econd-team pick. Seumalo does a nice job of protecting quarterback Sean Mannion. Seumalo could use more strength for the NFL, but he has upside. The junior could end up being the highest-rated player among these centers by NFL scouts.

Even though Seumalo might grade out the highest for the NFL, there are a few issues that cause me to rate him lower for the Rimington. First, he could miss time to open the season as he recovers from a broken foot. Secondly, there is some talk that Seumalo could move to guard. Thus, he seems less likely to win the Riminigton compared to Dismukes or Grasu.

Honorable Mentions: Texas A&M’s Mike Matthews, Notre Dame’s Nick Martin, Wisconsin’s Dan Voltz, South Carolina’s Cody Waldrop and Alabama’s Ryan Kelly.

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