Rimington Watches Center At Alabama

It would seem that the best chance for a college team to have back-to-back winners of one of the individual awards -- Heisman, Butkus, Outland, etc. -- would be to have an underclassman win the award and then return for the next season.

Alabama has not had much luck with that. Mark Ingram won the Heisman as a sophomore, but not as a junior. Rolando McClain won the Butkus Award as a junior, but then left for his brief career in professional football.

In 2011, Barrett Jones was a left tackle for Alabama and won the Outland Award as the nation's best offensive lineman. Last year he moved to center -- which, by the way, is also an offensive line position -- but didn't repeat as Outland winner. Jones did, however, win the Rimington Trophy as the nation's best center.

Jones has now departed for the NFL and it is expected that his job will be assumed by sophomore Ryan Kelly. And when the Rimington spring watch list came out, there was Ryan Kelly among the 44 on the initial list.

Kelly backed up Jones a season ago, playing in 10 games, and earned Southeastern Conference All-Freshman recognition.

The 2013 Riminigton Trophy Spring Watch List includes 17 returning players from the 2012 Watch List. The SEC leads the way with nine players while the PAC-12 and the Mountain West Conference check in with five players each.

While more than a dozen All-America football teams are selected annually, the Rimington Trophy committee uses the American Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp Foundation, Sporting News and the Football Writers Association of America to determine a winner.

The winner will be honored at Rimington Trophy Presentation banquet at the Rococo Theater in Lincoln, Neb., on Jan. 11, 2014.

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