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Rimington watch list details list of returning centers

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It’s the dead time of the college football calendar, which means it’s time for this sport’s oldest, most antiquated tradition: watch lists.

First one in line is the Rimington Trophy, given to the best center in college football. And to help voters narrow down their choice for when voting picks up six months from now, the Rimington has helpfully provided this watch list of essentially every returning starting center in college football.

The 2017 list includes (deep breath):

– Aaron Mitchell, Fresno State
– Alan Knott, South Carolina
– Alac Eberle, Florida State
– Antonyo Woods, Florida Atlantic
– Asotui Eli, Hawaii
– Austin Doan, Central Michigan
– Austin Golson, Auburn
– Austin Schlottmann, TCU
– Billy Price, Ohio State
– Blaise Fountain, New Mexico
– Brad Lundblade, Oklahoma State
– Brad North, Northwestern
– Bradley Bozeman, Alabama
– Brendan Moore, Maryland
– Brian Allen, Michigan State
– Bryce Holland, Army
– Cameron Ruff, South Florida
– Chandler Miller, Tulsa
– Coleman Shelton, Washington
– Colton Prater, Texas A&M
– Danny Godloveske, Miami (Ohio)
– Dennis Edwards, Western Kentucky
– Drew Keyser, Memphis
– Erick Wren, Oklahoma
– Evan Brown, SMU
– Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
– Gabe Mobley, Georgia State
– Garrett McGhin, East Carolina
– Jake Bennett, Colorado State
– Jake Hanson, Oregon
– Jake Pruehs, Ohio
– James Daniels, Iowa
– James O’Hagan, Buffalo
– Jesse Burkett, Stanford
– John Keenoy, Western Michigan
– Jon Baker, Boston College
– Julian Good-Jones, Iowa State
– Keoni Taylor, San Jose State
– LaVonne Gauthney, Akron
– Levi Brown, Marshall
– Luke Shively, Northern Illinois
– Mason Hampton, Boise State
– Matt Hennessy, Temple
– Mesa Ribordy, Kansas
– Michael Deiter, Wisconsin
– Nathan Puthoff, Kent State
– Nick Allegretti, Illinois
– Nick Clarke, Old Dominion
– Reid Najvar, Kansas State
– Ryan Anderson, Wake Forest
– Sam Mustipher, Notre Dame
– Scott Quessenberry, UCLA
– Sean Krepsz, Nevada
– Sean Rawlings, Ole Miss
– Sumner Houston, Oregon State
– T.J. McCoy, Florida
– Tanner Thrift, Baylor
– Tejan Koroma, BYU
– Tim McAullife, Bowling Green
– Trey Martin, Rice
– Will Clapp, LSU
– Will Noble, Houston
– Zach Shackelford, Texas


Got all that?

Ohio State’s Pat Elflein claimed the honor last season.

Illinois DC Hardy Nickerson undergoes emergency appendectomy surgery while recruiting

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It’s a busy time for coaches in college football as they travel across the country this month evaluating the next crop of players they’ll sign in the coming years. While we’ve seen more than a handful of interesting stories from the coaches hitting the road, one Big Ten coordinator disclosed quite the scary moment about one trip this week.

Illinois defensive coordinator and longtime NFL veteran Hardy Nickerson was back in the familiar confines of the state of Florida on a recruiting trip recently and visiting the Jacksonville area. That’s apparently where the trouble happened as the coach tweeted on Friday afternoon that he had undergone an emergency appendectomy surgery and was recovering at nearby hospital St. Vincent’s Medical Center Riverside.


It’s not every day that you hear of somebody undergoing an emergency appendectomy, much less a prominent coach on the road recruiting during the evaluation period.

Best wishes to Nickerson as he recovers from the surgery. Hopefully for the Illini, whatever recruits he was visiting will pay a little more attention to Illinois in the future knowing just what their defensive coordinator went through while evaluating them this spring.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany set to cash in with over $20 million in bonuses

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It’s good to be a college commissioner nowadays but it seems it’s an even better time to be the one leading the Big Ten.

USA Today reports that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is set to cash in big time with some $20 million in future bonus payments on the books from the conference. The league’s most recent tax returns shed light on the paychecks, which will come in addition to the over $2 million he already receives each year.

“Commissioner Delany has provided invaluable leadership for Big Ten member institutions while delivering first-in-class performance during a time of great transformation in college athletics,” University of Minnesota president Eric Kaler said in a statement provided by the conference. “He has not only successfully balanced the missions of academic achievement, student-athlete development and athletic success, he has successfully developed the resources necessary to strategically position the conference for success well into the future. His compensation is market-competitive, based on an independent third-party analysis, and reflects the value and impact of his leadership.”

Delany has served as commissioner of the Big Ten since 1989 and has been one of the most powerful leaders in college athletics ever since. He was the driving force behind numerous expansions by the conference over the years and the cash-cow that the Big Ten Network has turned into.

While Delany has drawn his fair share of criticism from fans and media members alike over the years, it’s hard to argue with what he’s done for the league’s burgeoning balance sheets. He is already one of the most handsomely compensated commissioners out there but something says the presence of this pay package will cause a few raised eyebrows around college athletics while also quieting talk that he may be set to retire in the very near future.

Arrested Illini players claim dorm incident was a prank

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Because of course they did.

Wednesday morning, three Illinois football players, offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and wide receiver Zarrian Holcombe, were arrested on charges of home invasion and armed robbery. Thursday, the trio was officially arraigned on felony charges of residential burglary and aggravated robbery.

The players, however, claimed that, according to first assistant state’s attorney Steve Ziegler, they were merely pulling a prank on the 19-year-old dormitory resident. From the Champaign News-Gazette:

Ziegler said the trio is accused of entering the room of another 19-year-old man who lived in Bromley Hall and threatening him with a pellet gun just before 1 a.m. Wednesday in what they told police was a “prank or a joke.”

“(The victim) was in bed with his door closed but not locked when three guys come into his room. They are all wearing dark clothing and they are all masked,” Ziegler said. “One of them produces what he believed to be a gun. Later he finds a BB gun on the floor of his room.”

Ziegler said from his review of a synopsis provided him by Champaign police, it’s believed that Holcombe was holding the BB gun while Lee went through dresser drawers and Watkins went through the man’s wallet, which was on a table.

“He recognizes Holcombe and Lee as residents of Bromley,” said Ziegler. “He says he calls them by name and they run out of his room. He later finds cash missing. What happens to Watkins is not clear.”

Ziegler said after the victim realized he knew two of the alleged intruders, he followed them into the hall.

“At that point, they are not wearing masks anymore so he knows it’s them,” Ziegler said.

The charges carry a mandatory prison term of 4-15 years on each count if they’re found guilty. Bond has been set at $150,000 for each player.

Lee and Holcombe, who were suspended prior to their arrests, remain suspended. Watkins has been indefinitely suspended from all team activities as well.

Lee started two of the six games he played his true freshman season last year, while Holcombe played in seven his first season with the Illini. Watkins was a three-star 2017 signee who enrolled early at the school.

Lovie Smith issues statement on arrests of Illini players on home invasion burglary charges

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As expected, Illinois has addressed the legal elephant squatting in the middle of their football locker room.

Wednesday morning, three Illini football players, offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and wide receiver Zarrian Holcombe, were arrested on charges of home invasion and armed robbery.  Not long after the arrests came to light, Lovie Smith issued a statement addressing the situation.

In the statement, Smith revealed that Lee and Holcombe had already been suspended prior to the arrests for violating unspecified team rules.  Those two will remain suspended.

Additionally, Watkins has been indefinitely suspended from all team activities as well.

“These allegations, if true, fail to live up to the standards we expect of our student-athletes,” the head coach said. “We continue to gather information and will take appropriate steps based upon what we learn.”

Lee started two of the six games he played his true freshman season last year, while Holcombe played in seven his first season with the Illini.  Watkins was a three-star 2017 signee who enrolled early at the school.