The 2017 Rimington Trophy Watch List was released on Monday, but USC Football does not have any representatives being monitored as the nation’s top center.
USC Football has two capable centers to pick from heading into the fall, but this year they don’t have a player on the Rimington Tropy Watch List.
Toa Lobendahn made the watch list last year despite not yet claiming the center job in an official capacity. He ultimately won the position and started the season opener against Alabama before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
With Lobendahn out of action, Nico Falah stepped into the role and performed admirably for the rest of the season.
The Rimington Trophy is awarded to the nation’s premier center by the Boomer Esiason Foundation.
Though watch lists often default to include veteran starters, neither Lobendahn nor Falah were listed among those being monitored as one of the nation’s top centers, likely because of how murky USC’s offensive line future remains.
The redshirt junior and redshirt senior both sat out the bulk of spring camp due to injury. Lobendahn is still in the process of rehabbing from knee surgery while Falah battled a herniated disc and was limited for several weeks of practice.
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Both lineman are versatile enough to play multiple positions across the offensive line. After the loss of starting left guard Damien Mama, left tackle Chad Wheeler and right tackle Zach Banner, the Trojans could use them in several different spots.
Lobendahn may end up starting at center, but he is also an option at left guard or right tackle tackle. Falah has started 13 games at center but began his Trojan career at tackle.
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The Pac-12 placed five centers on this year’s watch list, including Washington’s Coleman Shelton, Oregon’s Jake Hanson, Stanford’s Jesse Burkett, UCLA’s Scott Quessenberry and Oregon State’s Sumner Houston.
No Trojan has ever won the Rimington Trophy since it’s inception in 2000, but USC has produced three finalists for the award — Norm Katnik, Ryan Kalil and Khaled Holmes.