Centers are among the forgotten few on the football field who never feel the love but are counted on as much as any other player to do their job and do it well. In the Big 12 three centers stand out above all the rest, which is why they have been selected to the preseason watch list for the 2011 Rimington Trophy, honoring the top center in college football.
Philip Blake, from Baylor, Oklahoma State senior Grant Garner and Jermeiah Hatch of Kansas are among 43 center candidates from around the country who are under consideration for the award. All are seniors.
Blake, from Toronto, Canada, has started in all 25 games since coming to Baylor. He was an All-Big 12 honorable mention last season and anchored a line that ranked third in the Big 12 and 24th nationally in rushing.
Garner, who left his home state to go to Oklahoma State, started every game a year ago and led an offensive line that only allowed 10 quarterback sacks, the seventh best in the country.
Hatch has started 23 of 24 games at center for Kansas. The Dallas, Texas, native was named to the Freshman All-America second team by Rivals.com in 2008.
The Rimington Trophy winner is chosen from the majority selection of four existing All-America teams: the American Football Coaches Association, the Walter Camp Foundation, Sporting News and the Football Writers Associations of America.
The winner will be announced at the end of the season.