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Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Rimington Profiles - Episode 4

It's finally back, the next episode in our Rimington Profiles series. After a long hiatus (thanks in so small part to there actually being some football to talk about), Episode 4 is now with you. Today, we look at another 5 guys in the running for consideration as the best Centre in college football, including representatives from the WAC, ACC and Big Ten. How have they fared on Saturdays, can we expect to see them playing on Sundays some time in the next few years? Find out after the jump.



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Gus Handler

(P: Paul Aiken)

Name: Gus Handler
School: Colorado
# 55
Height: 6’3
Weight: 300
Year: RS JR
Nickname: G Money / G Malone
Major: History
HS Attended: Barrington
Football Hero: Brian Cushing
Non-football Hero: Parents
Best player you've played with/against: David Bakhtiari, USC DE Nick Perry
Pregame Ritual: Listen to music
Favourite Movie: I Love You, Man
Favourite Artist/Band: Game, Gap Band, Zapp & Roger
Favourite Pro Sports Team: Chicago Bulls
Season so far: 1-3
Aim for rest of 2012: Bowl Game
Next game: vs UCLA, 29th Sept, 4pm MT

Bio: When it comes to versatility on a football field, Gus Handler showed what he had at High School in Barrington, Illinois. As well as playing every offensive snap for the Broncos in both his junior and senior seasons, he also spent time on the kick return team, the hands unit, and the punt team. He also lettered 4 times in baseball! But his contributions on the OL were what really got him noticed. Rated as the 29th overall player in the state of Illinois, it's no wonder Gus received 8 offers from D-1 schools, including Georgia Tech, Miami (OH) and NC State, but it was Colorado that earned his commitment in December 2008, and excited they were. "If you looked up nastiness in the dictionary, his picture would come up," said CU offensive technical intern Brad Bedell on signing day. It took Handler some time to fight his way to the top of the depth chart in Boulder, but in 2011 he played in all 13 games, starting the last 10, and grading out at 81.6%. His play last year ensured him of the starting C role in 2012, as well as his first nomination to the Rimington Watch List. 2012 has started in inhospitable fashion for CU, with the Buffs falling to an 0-3 start including close defeats to Colorado St and Sacramento St, and a 69-14 thrashing at the hands of Fresno St. CU got their first win of the season Saturday in a come-from-behind win over Washington St, and will hope this sets them up for a revival for the rest of the season. Mind you, with UCLA, USC and Oregon in 3 of their next 4 games, it looks like an uphill climb for Handler and the Buffs.


James Ferentz

(P: 247sports.com)

Name: James Ferentz
School: University of Iowa
#53
Height: 6'1''
Weight 285
Year: Senior
HS Attended: Iowa City High
Best player you've played with/against: Riley Reiff
Favorite Artist/Band: The Black Keys
Next game: vs Minn, 29th Sept, 11am CT

Bio: Ferentz... Ferentz... Now where have I heard that name in connection with the Iowa Hawkeyes and offensive linemen before? Oh yeah, that'd be Kirk Ferentz, Hawkeyes HC since 1999, former NFL OL coach to the Browns and Ravens, and father to current starting centre for Iowa James Ferentz. Growing up, there was never any real chance that James was going to anything but play on the OL for Iowa. His father was OL coach in Iowa when James was born, and despite coaching jobs drawing Kirk away, James stayed in Iowa and attended Iowa City HS, where he earned First-Team All-State and All-Conference honours as both a junior and a senior whilst playing on both lines. There was never really any doubt that James would commit to Iowa if he got an offer, and that he did, becoming the first in-state recruit of Iowa's 2008 class. Despite his play at DT and OT in high school, James followed his older brother Brian (current Iowa OL coach) into the role of C with the Hawkeyes, and despite a rocky start and some run-ins with local law enforcement, he finally earned the starting job in 2010. James started every game in 2010 and 2011for the Hawkeyes, and this year marks his second nomination to the Rimington Watch List, as well as his first as team captain at Iowa. Now in his senior year, James is starting to be talked about as a pro-prospect, and despite his short size potentially being a negative for many scouts, he has proved it hasn't held him back in the Big Ten. Iowa has had an O-linemen drafted in each of the last 4 years, including first round selections Brian Bulaga (Green Bay Packers) and Riley Reiff (Detroit Lions); a trend that Ferentz will be keen to continue.


Zac Kerin


(P: Toledo Athletics)

Name: Zac Kerin
School:  Toledo
#67
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 300lbs
Year: Red-shirt Junior
Major: Civil Engineering
HS Attended: Olentangy High School
Football Hero: Jerome Bettis
Non-Football Hero: My dad Todd Kerin
Best player you've played with, and against: Played with Adonis Thomas, Played against John Simon
Pregame Ritual: Listen to music
Favourite Movie: Dark Knight Rises
Favourite Artist/Band: George Strait
Favourite Pro-Sports Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Season So Far: Season so far is going well and is exciting
Aim for rest of 2012: Aim for the rest of the season is to finish strong and reach our full potential as a team
Next game: @WMU, 29th Sept, 7pm ET

Bio: Zac Kerin is another Rimington Watch List member who plied his trade at HS on both sides of the trenches. Whilst playing OT for Olentangy Braves in Delaware, OH, Kerin also lined up on the defensive line, recording 5 sacks in his career, as well as two forced fumbles. Despite making First-Team All-District and Special Mention All-State, Zac wasn't inundated with scholarship offers from Div-1 schools, but when Toledo extended an offer, Kerin committed and stayed in his home state. Much like the two centres previewed above, Zac had to bide his time before getting his chance for the Rockets. A redshirted 2009 was followed by a bit-part role in 2010, before he earned the start at C for the 2011 season. It was that Toledo offense that stormed through the 2011 season, ranking 8th nationally in scoring (1st in the MAC), and 10th nationally in total offense. On the OL specifically, they allowed only 10 sacks all season, 6th in the nation and 1st in the MAC, and Kerin was voted to Second-Team All-MAC. Going into 2012, the Rockets lost 3 of their 5 OL starters, with just Kerin and OG Greg Mancz returning. Despite this, the offense has continued to perform well in 2012, helping Toledo to a 3-1 record, including a victory over rivals Bowling Green, with the only loss coming in overtime at Arizona. After their 2011 victory over Air Force in the Military Bowl, Toledo and Kerin will be looking for further Bowl success in 2012.

Tyler Larsen

(P: Jeffrey D Allred)
Name: Tyler Larsen
School: Utah State University
#: 58
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 305
Year: Junior
Nickname: Lars
Major: Human Movement Science
HS Attended: Jordan (Utah) HS
Football Hero: Merlin and Phil Olsen (Utah State Alums)
Non-football Hero: My father, Leroy Larsen
Best player you've played with, and against: Older brother, Cody Larsen
Pregame Ritual: Listen to calming music (Cranberries, Skrillex, etc.)
Favourite Movie: Brave and Taking of Pelham 123
Favourite Artist/Band: Skrillex and Cranberries
Favourite Pro Sports Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Season so far: Very fun doing something special and continuing to improve. It's been great.
Aim for rest of 2012: Win a conference championship and continue to do my best every single day.
Next game:  vs UNLV, 29th Sept, 6pm MT

Bio: Compared to the first three guys in this episode of the Rimimgton Profiles, Tyler Larsen has been a college starter for an age. Larsen arrived at Utah State having been offered a scholarship for his play at Jordan HS, where he excelled on both offensive and defensive lines, earning First-Team All-State honours, and helping the Beetdiggers to 4 straight state playoffs - he even scored 4 TDs on fumble recoveries! As a True Freshman for the Aggies he was plugged straight in to contribute, and played a role in the opening two games of the 2009 season before injuring his knee and being forced to redshirt the year because of it. As an RS Freshman in 2010, Tyler earned the starting role at Centre in the Spring, and didn't relinquish the job all season, starting 12 games in the Aggies disappointing 4-8 season. Larsen played well enough himself to earn Second-Team All-Freshman honours, as well as make the Rimington Watch List for the first time before the 2011 season. His SO year was much kinder to the Aggies, as they went 7-6, good enough for 3rd in the WAC, and also marked the time Larsen emerged as a real force on the Utah OL. He started all 13 games, including vs Ohio in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, and was the team's best O-lineman, grading at 89% overall, and being nominated both First-Team All-WAC and Academic All-WAC. Larsen is recognised as one of the best Cs in all of college football, and has a decent shot at being in strong consideration for the Rimington Trophy, as well as drawing interest from pro-scouts when his time with the Aggies comes to an end. His 2012 has started well too, with the Aggies working to 3-1, and with a real chance to challenge for the WAC.


Brian Moore

(P: JC Ridley)

Name: Brian Moore
School: Duke University
#: 68
Height: 6-2
Weight: 285
Year: Redshirt Senior
Nickname: Brian
Major: Economics
HS Attended: Ransom Everglades (Coral Gables, Fla.)
Football Hero: Tim Irwin
Non-football Hero: Jose Reyes
Best player you've played with: Thad Lewis (Duke QB, Cleveland Browns QB)
Pregame Ritual: Don’t really have time before games, but try and get in hot tub/listen to music before the centers have to snap with the QBs
Favorite Movie: Dumb and Dumber
Favorite Pro Sports Team: Miami Marlins
Season so far: 3-1
Aim for rest 2012: Be bowl-eligible
Next game: @ Wake Forest, 29th Sept, 12:30pm ET

Bio: In the football hotbed of Florida, Brian Moore established himself as a real talent early on. He was voted Most Outstanding Player following his junior season at Ransom Everglades, playing on both of the lines, and was also nominated as a Second-Team All-State pick. Despite missing his senior year through injury, Moore garnered scholarship offers from Duke, Kentucky and South Carolina as a 3* prospect ranked 96th overall in the state of Florida by Rivals.com, before committing to the Blue Devils in February 2007. After redshirting 2008, Moore started 24 consecutive games through 2009-10, all at Right Guard. He excellent here, earning Freshman All-ACC and Academic All-ACC in '09 and '10 respectively, and recorded the most offensive snaps of any player on the Blue Devils team throughout this period. He made the transition inside to C before the 2011 season, but wasn't able to start there until mid-way through the season, suffering from a broken arm in August 2011 which kept him out for the first 6 games. Despite returning for the games vs Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Miami, Moore reinjured his arm and was unable to complete the season. Even in those three games he showed his value to Duke, however, recording 97 snaps in the Wake Forest game. For 2012, Moore was slated to compete against one of his stand ins from 2011, Conor Irwin, who he subsequently beat out to begin the season. A 3-1 start to the year has been solid for Duke, but they are yet to face an in-conference opponent, their game @ Wake Forest on Saturday marking their first.

Why not take a look back at the previous centres we've profiled in Episodes 1, 2 and 3?
Episode 1 - Trent Dupy, Mario Benavides, Reece Dismukes, Mike Marboe, Matt Smith
Episode 2 - Eloy Atkinson, Andre Huval, Evan Swindall, Travis Swanson, Jay Finch
Episode 3 - Ben Habern, Patrick Lewis, Camden Wentz, Dillon Farrell, Austin Quattrochi

- Phil Gaskin (@sosayitisaid)
- The Pulling Linemen

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