University of Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz was named a finalist today for the Rimington Trophy, which is presented annually to the best center in college football. The other two finalists are Brett Neilon (USC) and Olusegun Oluwatimi (Michigan).
Schmitz followed P.J. Fleck to Minnesota and has thrived under the development of offensive line coach Brian Callahan. A tough, blue-collar football player from just south of Chicago, Schmitz is the clear No. 1 Power 5 center in the nation according to Pro Football Focus. He anchors an offensive line that features four new starters 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 All-Big Ten by both the coaches and media, becoming the first Minnesota center to receive the honor since Greg Eslinger was a First Team selection from 2003-05.
Schmitz was named First Team Midseason All-America Team by AP, ESPN, PFF and CBS and PFF named him a First Team All-American at the end of the season as well. Schmitz will undoubtedly be named to many more postseason All-America teams as well, and 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.
(info and photos courtesy of Gopher Sports)