Rimington Trophy watch list adds two players

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Does your school have a center? Odds are he appears on the Rimington Trophy watch list, which was updated today.

The initial watch list for the Rimington Trophy was initially released back in mid-May, but two new names have been added for the official release of the watch list. Idaho’s Mike Marboe and UTSA’s Nate Leonard join the 64 players previously named to the watch list.

The watch list features two finalists for last year’s award with Auburn’s Reese Dismukes and Oregon’s Hroniss Grasu. Of the 66 players, there are 40 seniors and 22 juniors. Four players are sophomores.

The Rimington Trophy is awarded to the nation’s top center by the Boomer Esiason Foundation, an organization raising awareness in the fight against cystic fibrosis. The award is named after former Nebraska center Dave Rimington. Finalists for the award will be announced on December 8 and the winner will be named December 11 during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show. The award will formally be presented at a banquet on January 17.

The Rimington Trophy was first awarded in 2000. Michigan is the only school with two Rimington Trophy winners with David Baas in 2004 (tied with LSU’s Ben Wilkerson) and David Molk in 2011. Florida State’s Bryan Stork was the 2013 Mackey Award winner.

Here is this year’s updated Rimington Trophy watch list:

Alex Mateas Connecticut RS Senior 6’4 309
Alex Huettel Bowling Green RS Junior 6’3 292
Andy Gallik Boston College Junior 6’3 302
Artie Rowell Pittsburgh Junior 6’2 305
Austin Reiter USF Senior 6’3 286
Austin Barron Florida State Senior 6’3 292
Austin Blythe Iowa Junior 6’3 290
B.J. Finney Kansas State Senior 6’4 303
Betim Bujari Rutgers Senior 6’4 295
Braden Lyons Florida Atlantic Senior 6’5 295
Brandon Vitabile Northwestern Senior 6’3 300
Bryce Redman Houston Senior 6’1 285
Bryce Giddens Arkansas State Junior 5’11 300
Chris Jasperse Marshall Senior 6’4 289
Cody Waldrop South Carolina RS Soph 6’2 315
Collin Rahrig Indiana RS Senior 6’2 290
Dan Voltz Wisconsin Soph 6’3 313
David Peterson San Jose State Senior 6’5 297
David Andrews Georgia Senior 6’2 295
Deyshawn Bond Cincinnati Soph 6’2 296
Dillon Day Mississippi State Senior 6’4 300
Dominic Espinosa Texas Senior 6’4 305
Donald Senat FIU Senior 6’2 285
Dylan Foxworth Tulsa RS Senior 6’2 265
Edward Fusi BYU Senior 6’0 317
Elliot Porter LSU Senior 6’4 300
Evan Boehm Missouri Junior 6’3 315
Graham Shuler Stanford Junior 6’4 282
Greg Mancz Toledo Senior 6’5 300
Hroniss Grasu Oregon Senior 6’3 297
Isaac Seumalo Oregon State Junior 6’3 305
Jack Allen Michigan State Junior 6’1 297
Jake Smith Louisville Senior 6’3 307
Jake Brendel UCLA Junior 6’4 285
Joe Townsend Vanderbilt Senior 6’4 310
Joey Grant UCF RS Junior 6’2 291
Joey Hunt TCU Junior 6’3 295
Jon Toth Kentucky Soph 6’5 298
Jon Hoffing Western Mich. Senior 6’4 285
Jordan Smith San Diego State Junior 6’5 285
Kyle Friend Temple Junior 6’2 305
LaMar Bratton New Mexico Senior 6’0 291
Mark Pelini Nebraska Senior 6’0 290
Matt Skura Duke RS Junior 6’4 290
Matt Galas Nevada Senior 6’1 280
Max Garcia Florida RS Senior 6’4 311
Michael Husar Air Force Junior 6’0 275
Mike Criste Washington Senior 6’6 318
Mike Marboe Idaho Senior 6’2″ 296
Mike Matthews Texas A&M Junior 6’2 285
Nate Leonard UTSA Senior 6’0″ 280
Nick Beamish Central Mich. Senior 6’3 310
Nick Martin Notre Dame Senior 6’4.5 295
Reese Dismukes Auburn Senior 6’3 297
Robert Kugler Purdue Junior 6’3 290
Robert Waterman UNLV Senior 6’2 290
Ryan Norton Clemson Junior 6’3 280
Ryan Kelly Alabama Junior 6’5 296
Sal Conaboy Maryland Senior 6’4 290
Shane McDermott Miami Senior 6’4 296
Steven Gurrola Arizona Senior 6’2 291
Taylor Lasecki SMU Junior 6’3 296
Tommy Olson Minnesota Senior 6’4 301
Ty Darlington Oklahoma Junior 6’2 298
Tom Farniok Iowa State Senior 6’4 300
Valeria Ume-Ezeoke New Mexico State Senior 6’2 285

On Monday the watch lists for the Maxwell AwardBednarik Award and Hornung Award were released.

USC’s Jake Olson named 2018 Walter Camp Award of Perseverance winner

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One of the most inspirational stories in college football the past few years has earned Jake Olson some much-deserved hardware.

Tuesday, the Walter Camp Foundation announced that Olson has been named as the recipient of the 2018 Walter Camp Award of Perseverance.  Olson, without sight in either eye since the age of 12, made history last year as a member of USC’s special teams by becoming the second legally-blind player to appear in an NCAA football game.

“Jake’s story is an inspiration to all, and our Foundation is honored to recognize him with the award of perseverance,” said Michael Madera, Walter Camp Foundation president, in a statement. “Jake has demonstrated courage and a strong will to succeed despite the challenges he has had to overcome.”

The award is merely a continuation of what’s been nearly a decade’s worth of touching moments for a remarkable young man.

In 2009, the Pete Carroll-led USC Trojans football team essentially adopted Olson, a teenage fan of the program at the time suffering from cancer of the retina in his right eye (he lost his left eye when he was less than one year old).  It was subsequently determined that Olson would need the right eye removed; on his final day of sight prior to the surgery that would leave him blind for the rest of his life, he chose to attend a Trojans football practice.

Fast-forward a few years, and Olson walked on to the USC football team as a long-snapper in 2015.  He took his first live-drill reps with the Trojans in September of that year, then snapped for the team in the 2016 spring game.  While he didn’t see any real-game action either year, in last season’s opener, at the end of USC’s closer-than-expected win over Western Michigan, Olson finally got to take his place on the field in an actual game with the rest of his special teams teammates as the long-snapper on an extra point — thanks in large part to a very classy assist from WMU head coach Tim Lester.

Olson remains a playing member of the Trojans football team, and is currently in his redshirt junior season.  He’s listed as the Trojans’ third-team long-snapper on the team’s most recent depth chart, although he hasn’t taken the field in a game this season.

As speculation swirls around Clay Helton, USC fans push for change

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To change or not to change, that is the question facing the USC administration when it comes to its head football coach. If they were to ask a growing segment of the fanbase, though, the answer would be resounding “yes!” to change.

In the days leading into this past Saturday’s rivalry game with UCLA, Clay Helton outwardly expressed confidence that he would return as head coach next season.  After coughing up a fourth-quarter lead in the loss to a Bruins team that came in at 2-8, Helton stated “that’s a great question for [athletic director Lynn] Swann” when asked if he thought he’d be returning in 2019.

The fanbase, on the other hand, is making its feelings loud and clear.

A petition appeared on Change.org earlier this week calling for the firing of Helton, although that one hasn’t gotten much traction.  Another, this one a fundraiser on GoFundMe.com, has started to take off as fans are looking to fly a banner over the USC campus before the Notre Dame game this weekend calling for the firing of Helton.  Additionally, the same group is seeking to take out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times calling for the same thing.

The $2,000 needed for the airplane and banner has easily been raised already; the newspaper ad will cost the group $20,000 and, as of this posting, they have raised just over $8,000 toward that goal.

“This is not designed to publicly humiliate Clay Helton,” the fundraising page stated. “The vast majority of USC fans like him as a person and wish it had worked out for him here and we will be rooting for him enthusiastically at his next destination. However, this job is beyond his capabilities at this point in his career and we are not doing anyone any favors by retaining him, including Clay himself. This is about bringing the USC administration’s attention to that fact.”

With the loss that dropped them to 5-6, USC now needs to beat third-ranked Notre Dame next week to become bowl-eligible.  The last time the Trojans failed to qualify for a bowl, outside of the NCAA-administered two-year bowl ban in 2010-11, was in 2000.  Following that 5-7 season, Paul Hackett was fired and Pete Carroll ultimately hired to replace him.

Prior to this year, Helton had won 10 and 11 games in his first two full seasons with the Trojans.

It remains unclear in which direction Swann and other USC administrators — and big-money boosters — will head, but one report has them keeping the status quo.

Should USC ultimately move on from Helton, James Franklin has already been mentioned as a possible replacement.  Tuesday, the current Penn State coach was asked about the potential opening.

“It’s that time of year where all this stuff happens,” Franklin said. “It’s that time of year. It’s the crazy, mad time of the year when these types of things happen. …

“As you guys know, like always, we’re focused on Maryland completely, 100 percent. I don’t think it’s even fair or right to be even talking about that job from everything I understand about it, but we’re completely focused on Maryland.”

Alabama RB Damien Harris (mild concussion) back at practice, status for Iron Bowl up in the air

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Alabama’s leading rusher is making progress, but whether it will lead to an Iron Bowl appearance remains to be seen.

Damien Harris sustained a hard hit early in the fourth quarter of UA’s win over Citadel and didn’t return.  Following the game, Nick Saban confirmed that the running back had sustained what he described as a “mild concussion.”

Harris didn’t practice Monday but was able to return Tuesday, albeit while wearing a non-contact jersey and limited to some individual drills.  With rival Auburn on tap this weekend, Harris’ status will likely be determined later in the week.

“As everyone knows, we have a concussion protocol,” the head coach said. “Because we have a baseline test on every player and when a player gets back to his baseline… this was called a mild concussion, and hopefully he’ll be back to his baseline soon and he can resume activity when that occurs.”

Through 11 games, Harris is the defending national champion’s leading rusher with 678 yards on the ground.  He had 83 yards on just seven carries against the Bulldogs, including a 73-yard run that ended with the head injury.

Najee Harris‘ 639 yards are second on the team.

Oregon, Oklahoma State line up home-and-home

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Oregon and Oklahoma State will conduct a home-and-home series in 2025-26, the schools jointly announced on Tuesday.

Oregon will host the Cowboys on Sept. 6, 2025, while Oklahoma State will return the favor on Sept. 12, 2026.

The schools have met once prior, a 42-31 upset Oregon win in the 2008 Holiday Bowl.

The Ducks also have a home-and-home with Boise State lined up for 2025-26, with hosting duties swapped from its Oklahoma State series. The Oklahoma State series also comes amid a phase of Big 12 non-conference games for the Ducks; they’ll play Texas Tech in 2023-24 and Baylor in 2027-28. Oregon also has future home-and-homes with Ohio State (2020-21) and Michigan State (2029-30), plus neutral site games with Auburn in Dallas to open 2019 and against Georgia in Atlanta to begin the 2022 campaign.

For Oklahoma State, the Oregon series are the only games on the books for 2025-26 at this point and also comes amid a run of home-and-homes against teams from out west. The Pokes, who hosted Boise State in September, begin a home-and-home with Oregon State next season, will pay a return visit to Boise State in 2021, and will play a home-and-home with Arizona State in 2022-23. The Oregon series is sandwiched between a home-and-home with Arkansas in 2024 and ’27.