PISCATAWAY, NJ – Senior Darnell Stapleton of the Rutgers University football team has been named to the Dave Rimington Trophy spring watch list of top collegiate centers for the 2006 season, it was announced today.
The 6-3, 305-pound Stapleton started all 12 games for the Scarlet Knights in 2005, and was a key member of the offensive line as Rutgers posted a 7-4 mark in the regular season, recorded a third place finish in the BIG EAST Conference and earned a berth in the Insight Bowl.
Stapleton, a graduate of Union High School, came to Rutgers after two years at Hudson Valley (NY) CC, and won the starting center spot in last year's pre-season camp. He helped solidify the middle of the offensive line, and the Scarlet Knights turned in the best offensive performance in school history with 4,765 total yards (breaking the mark of 4,701 yards set in 1995). Rutgers featured one of the top rushing tandems in the country in 2005, with FB Brian Leonard and RB Ray Rice combining for 1,860 yards.
This season marks the seventh year of the Rimington Trophy, recognizing the most outstanding center in college football, and the first as a Regular Member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The spring watch list consists of thirty-nine of college football's top men in the middle and will be updated once prior to the beginning of the season, and includes five sophomores, 11 juniors and 23 seniors.
Dave Rimington, the award's namesake, was a consensus first team All-America center at Nebraska in 1981 and 1982 during which he became the John Outland Trophy's only double winner as the nation's premiere college interior lineman. The seven year old trophy is presented by Canon, MidAmerican Energy Holdings, USA and Black & Decker. The award is hosted by the Boomer Esiason Foundation. Esiason created his foundation in 1993 to support research and treatment of cystic fibrosis. Esiason and Rimington were teammates on the Cincinnati Bengals from 1984-87. The winner is selected by determining the consensus All-American center pick from four existing All America Teams including: American Football Coaches Association; Walter Camp Foundation; Sporting News; and Football Writers Association of America
The winner will be honored at the awards banquet at the Rococo Theater in Lincoln, Nebraska, in January of 2007.