The 2016 season is fast approaching, which means it’s time to start previewing players who could be in the discussion for college football’s most prestigious awards when the season is all said and done.
The preseason watch list for the Rimington Trophy (given to the nation’s best center) was revealed on Tuesday and plenty of Big Ten players made the list.
Here’s a look at the Big Ten players who were named to each the Rimington Trophy preseason watch list, along with a preview of what to expect from them this season.
Brendan Moore, sophomore, Maryland: Moore is expected to be Maryland’s starting center after appearing in seven games and starting one contest as a redshirt freshman. He made his first start on Nov. 28 against Rutgers and helped pave the way for Maryland’s 401-yard performance on the ground.
Brian Allen, junior, Michigan State: Allen appeared in 14 games and made 12 starters as a true sophomore. He was a second-team All-Big Ten selection and will likely be relied upon as an anchor in the trenches for the Spartans during the 2016 campaign.
Dylan Utter, senior, Nebraska: Utter started all 13 games last season at left guard, but could see some time at center this season. He will be one of the veteran leaders on a talented Nebraska offense.
Joe Spencer, senior, Illinois: Spencer started all 12 games at center for the Illini last season. He’s also a tremendous student and activist in the community, earning Academic All-Big Ten honors.
Mason Cole, junior, Michigan: Cole is a two-year starter who started all 13 games at tackle last season. He was an All-Big Ten honorable mention in 2015.
Michael Deiter, sophomore, Wisconsin: Deiter was thrown into the fire as a redshirt freshman, starting all 13 games last season, six of which at center. Deiter will be a crucial member of an improving Wisconsin offensive line.
Pat Elflein, senior, Ohio State: A two-year starter, Elflein will be one of the top players on a Buckeyes offense that lost some of its top talent from last season’s 12-1 team.
Sean Welsh, junior, Iowa: Welsh was an All-Big Ten honorable mention last season after starting all 14 games for the Hawkeyes. Welsh was a versatile blocker last season, playing 12 games at left guard and two games at right tackle.