Top 10 Candidates to Win the 2014 Rimington Award

Top 10 Candidates For 2014 Rimington Award

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The Rimington Award goes to the baddest of the bad boys in college football, the leader of the offensive line. We're blessed to have some great centers in the game today and it should be a tight race to see who ends up walking away with the Rimington Award this season. Here are the top 10 candidates who can do it.

10. Dan Voltz, Wisconsin

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10. Dan Voltz, Wisconsin

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Voltz stepped up to the plate last season for the Wisconsin Badgers and had an impressive campaign at center after taking a redshirt his freshman year of 2012. He's definitely on the outside looking in at this point, though.

9. Jake Smith, Louisville

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9. Jake Smith, Louisville

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The best part about Smith's game is the versatility. He can comfortably play anywhere on the interior of the offensive line. He was one of the most reliable protectors of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater the last two seasons and is excellent in opening up holes for the ground game.

8. Jake Brendel, UCLA

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8. Jake Brendel, UCLA

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Last season was Brendel's second run as a starter on the Bruins' offensive line, and he took some serious strides from 2012, earning All-Conference Honorable Mention in the Pac-12. Brendel will need to add size down the road, and with that will come better run-blocking.

7. Ryan Kelly, Alabama

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7. Ryan Kelly, Alabama

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Barrett Jones, one of the most respected and decorated offensive linemen in Alabama school history, left some very large shoes to fill, and that's where Kelly steps in. What little we've seen of Kelly the last couple years has been extremely promising, and now he gets to go out there and really show us what he has.

6. Brandon Vitabile, Northwestern

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6. Brandon Vitabile, Northwestern

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Vitabile is one of the most experienced and tried centers in the country, having made 38 consecutive starts heading into his senior season. He naturally stands out on a line that shoved the pile for 172 rushing yards per game last season.

5. Nick Martin, Notre Dame

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5. Nick Martin, Notre Dame

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Martin got off to a terrific start last season when he started each of the Fighting Irish's first 11 games, but he was sidelined for the remainder of the year with a knee injury against BYU. If Martin stays hot for Notre Dame, he'll find himself in the Rimington Award discussion.

4. B.J. Finney, Kansas State

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4. B.J. Finney, Kansas State

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If he goes on to win the Rimington Award this season, Finney's story would be greater than that of anyone else's in this race. Finney began his career as a walk-on and is now a First-Team All-Big 12 selection two years in a row.

3. David Andrews, Georgia

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3. David Andrews, Georgia

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

When he's on top of his game, Andrews is easily one of the best centers in the country. But when he's off his game, it has the potential to get really ugly. So if the center who played extremely well against the pass rushers of Tennessee and South Carolina shows up, he's a front-runner this season.

2. Reese Dismukes, Auburn

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2. Reese Dismukes, Auburn

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Dismukes has been a starter on Auburn's offensive line all three years he's been active and 2013 saw him named a First-Team All-SEC center. He is the undisputed anchor of a Tigers' ground attack that is extremely feared and respected as one of the best in the country.

1. Hroniss Grasu, Oregon

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1. Hroniss Grasu, Oregon

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

What makes Grasu stand out in a pack of great centers is his athleticism and the way he perfectly fits into the Oregon offense. He had a few rough games in 2013, but he also passed some very difficult assignments.

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