A.P. Steadham

Rimington Award watch list for nation’s best center includes Alabama’s Bradley Bozeman

Alabama center Bradley Bozeman on Rimington Award watch list

It is very, very difficult for a college football player to win the Rimington Award, which is given annually to the nation’s best center. It is not, however, difficult to make the watch list for the award. Every college is allowed to nominate its starting center for the initial watch list, the result being that the list includes 63 players.
One of those is Bradley Bozeman, Alabama’s fifth-year senior and returning starter from last year’s Southeastern Conference championship Crimson Tide.
Although Bozeman was not a 2016 honors winner, that was primarily because he received basically no pre-season mention. Up until just over a week before Bama’s 2016 season-opening game against Southern Cal, Bozeman had been expected to be at right guard.
The versatile player from Roanoke had played tackle, guard, and center going into last season, including filling in admirably for Ryan Kelly at center in his redshirt freshman year of 2014.
Last year Bozeman was replacing Kelly, who had won the Rimington Award in 2015 in helping Alabama to the national championship. Kelly went on to be a first round NFL draft choice.
Bama has had two of the last five Rimington Award winners with Barrett Jones winning the trophy in 2012.
Bozeman’s credentials from his first season as the Tide’s starting center are excellent. He started all 15 games in Alabama’s 14-1 season and helped Bama average an SEC-best 38.8 points per game.
Alabama’s coaching staff selected him as an offensive player of the game eight times —  following games against Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas A&M, LSU, Mississippi State, Auburn, and the SEC Championship Game win over Florida.
The 6-5, 314-pound Bozeman had 29 knockdown blocks and did not allow a sack in 2016.
Bozeman is one of eight centers from the SEC who were nominated for the watch list. The MAC had nine nominees and the Big 12 had eight.
The Rimington Trophy selection committee uses the Walter Camp, Sporting News, and Football Writers Association All-America selections at center to determine the winner of the award.
The Rimington Award is named for former Nebraska great Dave Rimington and has been awarded for the past 15 years. Rimington was a two-time All-America and two-time winner of the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best lineman and later played for the Cincinnati Bengals.
The award will be presented in Lincoln on Jan. 13.


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