Rimington Trophy Finalists from USC, University of Michigan, and University of Minnesota
Brett Neilon, Olusegun Oluwatimi, and John Michael Schmitz named the top three Division I collegiate centers in the country
New York, NY – December 5, 2022
The Rimington Trophy Committee proudly announces and congratulates its 2022 finalists for the most outstanding center in college football. They are:
Brett Neilon, USC
Redshirt senior Brett Neilon has been USC’s starting center for the past four seasons. He leads an offensive line that is one of the best in the nation. The veteran leader is not only an instrumental part of the Trojan offense, but also of the culture change that Coach Lincoln Riley implemented once arriving at Troy. He has been crucial to the success of leading Heisman Trophy candidate, quarterback Caleb Williams. In USC’s electric offense, Neilon helps the Trojans average 325.7 passing yards per game, while averaging 172.4 yards on the ground. USC is ranked No. 3 in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 41.1 points per game. Neilon has played 901 snaps this season through 13 games. Neilon has been named to the PFF All-American Second Team and the PFF All-Pac-12 First Team.
Olusegun Oluwatimi, Michigan
Olusegun Oluwatimi has led a Michigan offensive line that ranks among the best in the nation. The Wolverines’ center has anchored a unit that lists sixth nationally in rushing offense and is seventh in scoring at 40.1 points per game. The balanced offensive attack churns out 243.0 yards per contest on the ground and 210.5 yards through the air, all while yielding just 13 sacks and 56 total tackles for loss in 895 snaps. U-M is 11th in the NCAA in sacks allowed (1.0 avg.) and 22nd in tackles for loss allowed (4.33 avg.) while rushing the ball for over 200 yards in nine of the 13 games. Oluwatimi has started all 13 games at center and is also a finalist for the Outland trophy after earning All-Big Ten first team honors this fall.
John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota
John Michael Schmitz followed P.J. Fleck to Minnesota and has thrived under the development of offensive line coach Brian Callahan. He anchors an offensive line that features four new starters in 2022 and helps pave the way for one of the most dominant rushing attacks in the nation. Minnesota is one of only two teams in the Big Ten (Ohio State is the other) to rank in the Top 25 in the nation in both sacks allowed (Minnesota is T17) and tackles for loss allowed (Minnesota is T23). Schmitz was named First Team Midseason All-American by the AP, ESPN, PFF and CBS and PFF named him a First Team All-American at the end of the season as well. He was previously named a semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award and for the Outland Trophy.
While more than a dozen All-America teams are selected annually, the Rimington Trophy committee uses these three prestigious teams to determine a winner:
- Walter Camp Foundation (WCF)
- Sporting News (SN)
- Football Writers Association of America (FWAA)
Because the selectors of these three All-America teams can place centers in a "mix" of offensive linemen that includes guards and tackles, their 11-man first teams can often have two centers. The Rimington Trophy committee's policy is to count all players that play primarily the center position for their respective teams as centers, even though they may be listed as guards or tackles on the All- America teams.
The center with the most first team votes will be determined the winner. If there is a tie with first team votes, then the center with the most second team votes will win. If there is still a tie, the winner will be determined by a majority vote from the Rimington Trophy Committee, provided with data from Pro Football Focus.
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About the Rimington Trophy
The Rimington Trophy is presented annually to the most outstanding center in NCAA Division I College Football. Since its inception, the award has raised over $4.8 million for the Boomer Esiason Foundation. The 2022 Rimington Trophy recipient will be honored in at the Rococo Theatre in Lincoln, NE on January 14, 2023. To learn more about Dave Rimington, the trophy’s namesake, and the event, please visit www.rimingtontrophy.com
The Rimington Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about the association.
About the Boomer Esiason Foundation
In 1993, Boomer Esiason’s son, Gunnar, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF). Boomer and his wife Cheryl founded the Boomer Esiason Foundation to raise funds and awareness for the cystic fibrosis community. To date, the Foundation has raised over $157 million and works to provide educational and financial resources to help people living with CF in the here and now.
About Pro Football Focus
Since 2006, PFF has separated themselves from the pack in their ability to provide game-changing data supported through studying every player, on every player, of every game.
In 2014, they began to do so for college football, too.
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