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Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Rimington Profiles - Episode 2

Welcome to the second installment of our Rimington Profiles series! Today we bring you profiles for 5 more of the top Centres in college football, and this week we're sticking firmly in the South, with Cs from schools in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Georgia. Take a look after the jump at the big guys we're focusing on this week, as well as a bit more background to the Rimington Trophy itself and how the Committee go about awarding the title to the winner.

In Episode 1 we told you about the Watch List, but how do the committee go about selecting the winner of the Trophy from the 51 names on their list? Simple. The committee bases their decision on the awarding of places on 4 prestigious All-American teams: The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), the Walter Camp Foundation (WCF), Sporting News (SN), and the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). The Centre that earns the highest number of 1st Team selections on these lists will win the Rimington Trophy, in the event of a tie the number of 2nd Team nominations will act as first tie-breaker, with the Rimington Committee selecting the winner themselves if two or more players are still level. The 5 guys below will all hope to see their names on these All-American teams when the season comes to a close, and will hope to add the Rimington Trophy to a Bowl victory on their CVs.
Eloy Atkinson

Name: Eloy Atkinson
School: UTEP
#: 63
Height: 6’3
Weight: 305
Year: Senior
Nickname: None
Major: Business Management
HS Attended: Los Fresnos High School
Football Hero: Troy Aikman
Non-football Hero: (dad) Eloy Atkinson
Best player you've played with/against: with- Mario Benavides
Pregame Ritual: Listen to music
Favourite Movie: Varsity Blues
Favourite Artist/Band: Randy Rogers Band
Favourite Pro Sports Team: San Antonio Spurs
Aim for 2012: First Team All- C-USA

Bio: Growing up in Los Fresnos, Texas, Eloy Atinson was a decorated tackle at high school, where he played alongside fellow Rimington Watch list nominee Mario Benavides (profiled in Episode 1) - getting his first taste of Varsity football in the second round of the post-season after Benavides went down injured. As a three year Varsity letter winner, Atkinson garnered plenty of interest from colleges in his home state, and despite initially favouring North Texas, he signed his Letter of Intent to UTEP in February 2008, allowing him to join his former QB Jeremy Springer in El Paso. Once at UTEP, Atkinson redshirted his first year, and served as backup centre in 2009, recording 207 snaps and setting himself up well for 2010 - in which he played 10 games, starting 4 of the last 5. As a junior in 2011, Atkinson earned the starting role at C, started all 12 games, and helped UTEP towards one of the most explosive offenses in the nation. His play earned him an honourable mention in the All C-USA team, but this year he wants first team selection.

Andre Huval

Name: Andre Huval
School: Louisiana
#: 71
Height: 6'2
Weight: 290
Year: Jr.
Major: Accounting
HS Attended: St. Thomas More
Best player you've played with/against: Ladarious Green
Favourite Movie: Avatar
Favourite Artist/Band: Eric Church
Favourite Pro Sports Team: Saints
Aim for 2012: Conference Championship

Bio: Another C keeping it close to home is Andre Duval, starting C for the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajun. Playing at St Thomas More HS in Lafayette, LA, Huval earned himself a Class 5A All-State selection, and was also heavily involved in athletics. He received college offers from SE Louisiana, McNeese St, and LA-Lafayette before committing to the Ragin' Cajuns in December 2009. His first year in the NCAA saw him play in 9 games at OG, with a total of 300 snaps. He perhaps would have seen more time were it not for a concussion early in the year. His sophomore year in 2011 saw him switch to C, where he started all 13 games and missed only 11 snaps all season - recording 3rd place on the team with 19 pancake blocks. He also earned the team's Awardmasters Academic Excellence Award that season. 2012 marks his second nomination to the Rimington Watch List.

 Evan Swindall

Name: Charles Evan Swindall
School: Ole Miss
Height: 6'3
Weight: 299
Year: Junior
Major: Business Management
HS Attended: Spain Park, Hoover AL
Football Hero: My Dad (Coach)
Non Football: My Mom
Best Player played with: Derrick Wilson (on team USA)
Pregame Ritual: Relax listen to ipod
Favorite Movie: Super Troopers
Favorite Artist: Wiz Khalifa
Favorite Pro Sports Team: Miami Heat
Aims for 2012: Have a great season both in the classroom and on the field by giving my best in both. Also on the field establishing a dominance on the field as an O-line group. Go to a bowl game this year.

Bio: As a HS athlete, Evan Swindall played all over. His father, a highly sought after HS coach, moved about a lot, and his family followed, with Evan playing on 3 different HS teams in his final 3 years. Despite seeing time at OT, OG and C, Swindall was recruited primarily as a C, and his father's teaching stood him in good stead, receiving offers from Middle Tennesse State, South Florida, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern. He initially also committed to Central Florida, but just one day after paying a visit to Ole Miss, who were recruiting him pretty heavily, he changed his commitment to play for the Rebels. Once there, he saw action in six games in 2010, starting two at C, and earning his first letter. He earned the starting role at C in 2011 before Ole Miss' game against Alabama, finishing the season with 7 starts in 8 games, but unfortunately not helping the Rebels to improve on their slow start to the season, finishing 2-10. Swindall will hope to be part of the Ole Miss revival in 2012, and as he says himself, make it to a Bowl Game.

Travis Swanson

Name: Travis Swanson 
School: Arkansas
#: 64 
Height: 6'5
Weight: 305
Year: RS JR
Nickname: Swanny
Major: Criminal Justice 
HS Attended: Kingwood High School (Kingwood, TX)
Football Hero: Jeff Saturday 
Non-football Hero: Parents 
Best player you've played with/against: With - Tyler Wilson; Against - Marcell Dareus
Pregame Ritual: Right before we head out I put a towel over my head and sit in silence for 5 minutes 
Favourite Movie: Batman The Dark Knight Rises
Favourite Artist/Band: The Word Alive
Aim for 2012: Winning the National Championship

Bio: Unlike his fellow SEC centre above, Travis Swanson doesn't need to aim for just making a bowl game. After a 10-2 season with the Razorbacks in 2011, Swanson appeared in the Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium, beating Kansas St 29-16 capping off an excellent year. Indeed, capping off an excellent 2 years playing in Arkansas from Swanson personally. He joined the Razorback from Kingwood HS in Texas, where as an OG he was listed as a 3* prospect and ranked #33 in the nation by Scout.com thanks to grading at over 84% during his senior season. It earned him offers from a variety of big schools, including Texas Tech, Houston, Arizona and Kansas, but it was the Razorbacks offer that really caught his attention and he commited in August 2008. As a highly rated prospect, he needed to work on his strength to earn a start in the SEC, and his first year was redshirted. By 2010, however, he was ready to start, and did so in all 13 of the Razorbacks games, helping the team to second in the SEC and ninth in the national in total offence (482.5YPG). If that wasn't enough, 2011 was even better. Swanson again started all 13 games at C, and the offence broke 16 school records, led the SEC in total offence, passing offence and scoring offence, and was victorious in the Cotton Bowl. As Swanson himself says, 2012s aim has to be a National Championship.

Jay Finch

Name: Jay Finch
School: Georgia Tech
Height: 6'4
Weight: 285
Year: Junior
Major: Business Management
HS Attended: Kennesaw Mountain HS
Football Hero: Larry Csonka
Non Football: My Father
Pre-game Ritual: Good night sleep, review play book and game adjustments we have made, say my prayers, then take the field and kick butt.
Favourite Movie: Anchorman
Favourite Band/Artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd
Favorite Pro Sports Team: All Atl Pro Teams!
Aims for 2012: Anything less than our best is unacceptable

Bio: Jay Finch's bowl appearence in 2011 wasn't quite as successful as Swanson's, with his Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets going down 30-27 in OT to Utah. But that is to take nothing away from Finch himself, who had an excellent season anchoring the OL. In highschool in Georgia, Finch played on both offensive and defensive lines for the Kennesaw Mountain HS Mustangs, and holds a number of school records for tackles for loss and sacks. His versatility earned him a lot of interest from big schools, with offers coming in from East Carolina, Louisville, Mississippi, NC State and UCF, but it was the recruiting of Brian Bohannon and Finch's experience of GTs practices that earned his commitment. Finch was another player who redshirted as a true freshman, but found his first starts on the OL in season two, making 11 appearances and 3 starts at left guard - backing up All-ACC centre Sean Bedford. Although he had not yet earned his full starting role, he helped GT to lead the nation in rushing offence in 2010. By 2011 he had his full starting position, now at C, and started all but 1 game there, missing the GT-Clemson game through injury. The GT offence was again potent behind their OL, leading the ACC in rushing and scoring offence, as well as allowing the fewest sacks in the conference. As a Junior in 2012, Finch has a chance to elevate himself to All-ACC First Team status.

Remember to check back in soon, as we'll be releasing Episode 3 of the Rimington Profiles. As you may have seen, one of the Watch List nominees was forced to announce his retirement from football last week, and we'll bring you some of the details, as well as some more profiles from the guys still in the running for the award!

- Phil Gaskin (@sosayitisaid)
- The Pulling Linemen

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