2015 Preseason Award Projections: Rimington Trophy

By Charlie Campbell
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Heading into the 2015 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 the next fall’s stars could be the headline players next May for the 2016 NFL Draft. We also will project the winners of the post-season awards that are given out to the best of college football.

The Rimington Award is given to the top center in college football. Three years ago, I predicted that Alabama center Barrett Jones would win the Riminigton Trophy, and he brought home the award. Two years ago, I said I was less confident, but I still got it right with Florida State’s Bryan Stork. I made it three straight years by getting it right with Auburn’s Reese Dismukes for the 2014 season.

Rimington Award Winner:

Nick Martin, Notre Dame

This year’s prediction was much harder for me than the past few years. I could easily see Michigan State’s Jack Allen or Texas A&M’s Mike Matthews winning this award, but I decided on Martin for a few reasons. One, I think Martin has the most athletic upside of the trio. Martin (6-4, 305) is bigger and stronger, so I think he could take his game to a higher level. Allen and Matthews are both smaller than Martin and don’t look as athletic.

Last season, Martin was reliable in pass protection and had a real impact in the ground game for the Fighting Irish. He also plays for a high-profile program with family name recognition as the younger brother of Zack Martin. The older brother was taken in the top 20 of the 2014 NFL Draft and was excellent for the Cowboys as a rookie. Thus, Nick Martin could get extra attention off the family reputation.

Riminigton Runner-Up:

Jack Allen, Michigan State

The Spartans’ snapper figures to get a lot of attention as there will be a ton of eyes on quarterback Connor Cook. Cook is one of the top quarterback prospects entering the 2015 season, so Allen will be noticed. Allen is a quality center who opens holes in the ground game and has been a reliable pass-protector for Cook.

Allen is an intelligent, well-rounded blocker who should look good over a relatively weak schedule. The 6-foot-2, 295-pounder didn’t allow a sack in the 2014 season, and if he repeats that performance, that could easily lead to him being the winner of the Rimington Award.

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. As a freshman, he was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 performer. Seumalo improved the next year and was a Second-Team pick. He missed the 2014 season with an injury that led to terrible interior pass protection for quarterback Sean Mannion.

Seumalo could use more strength for the NFL, but he has upside. In 2013, Seumalo was one of the best centers in the nation, so if he returns to that level of play in 2015, he could win the Rimington Trophy.

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

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