Wilkerson named as Rimington finalist

LSU center Ben Wilkerson has been named one of six finalists for the Rimington Trophy, which goes to college football's top center, the awards committee announced on Thursday. <br><br> Other finalists for the award include Vince Carter of Oklahoma, Jake Grove of Virginia Tech, Norm Katnik of Southern Cal, Nick Leckey of Kansas State and Hugh Reilly of Georgia Tech.

Wilkerson, a junior from Hemphill, Texas, has started all 12 games for the Tigers this year, helping LSU to a school-record 11 wins with only one loss.


In 12 games in 2003, Wilkerson has recorded 12 pancakes and 75 knockdowns for an LSU offensive line that has surrendered only 13 sacks all season.


The winner of the trophy will be announced on Dec. 13 at an awards banquet at the Rococo Theater in Lincoln, Neb.


Wilkerson joins LSU defensive tackle Chad Lavalais as the Tigers who have made the cut for national awards. Lavalais is among five finalists for the Nagurski Award and he's one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy. The Nagurski Award goes to college football's top defensive player, while the Outland Trophy is awarded to the top interior lineman in college football.



LSU to be featured on ESPN's Gameday

ESPN reporter Rocket Ismail spent a portion of Wednesday with the LSU defense as part of a feature on the Tigers for ESPN's College Football GameDay, which will air on Saturday morning.


Ismail conducted interviews with members of the LSU defensive backfield as well as doing a five-minute interview with head coach Nick Saban.


Ismail also went into Tiger Stadium and did a walk-through with the Tiger secondary as they talked about each player's role on what is considered the nation's top defensive unit.


The Tigers enter Saturday's SEC Championship Game against fifth-ranked Georgia rated No.1 in then nation in scoring defense (10.6 points per game), second in total defense (260.4 yards per game) and third in rushing defense (69.7 yards per game).



Tigers to be Featured on SEC-TV This Week

LSU and Georgia will be the featured attraction on SEC-TV this week as the show will preview this weekend's SEC Championship Football Game at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday on Fox Sports Southwest (cable ch. 37 in Baton Rouge).


SEC Commissioner Mike Slive joins host Dave Neal in FSN's Atlanta studio to discuss the 12th SEC Championship Game, which has become the standard by which all conference football title games are judged. Saturday's No. 3 LSU vs. No. 5 Georgia matchup is the second on Slive's watch as he became the conference's seventh commissioner.


Also on Thursday's show, reporter Jenn Hildreth profiles LSU sophomore wide receiver/returner Skyler Green, who leads the nation in punt returns (21.2 average) for the sixth straight week. The 5-9, 189-pound Green is perhaps the forgotten man in a receiving corps spiced by the likes of Michael Clayton and Devery Henderson. Green has enjoyed his moments in the sun this year, however, highlighted by his last-minute, 34-yard touchdown catch to seal the Tigers' 17-10 win over Georgia in Death Valley. On the season, he has 1,089 receiving, rushing and return yards (14.9 yards every time he touches the ball).


Hildreth also spotlights Georgia's junior Jeremy Thomas, who ably continues the lineage of walk-on fullbacks in Athens. Thomas transferred from the Air Force Academy in '01, and worked himself into the Bulldog lineup six times last season, including Georgia's SEC Championship Game win over Arkansas. He has six starts this year and has rushed 20 times for 60 yards and a pair of scores, while catching 11 passes for 148 yards. Thomas is also one of four Bulldogs with a 4.0 grade point average.


The "Advance Auto Parts Players of the Week" in the SEC are highlighted on Thursday's SEC-TV. LSU quarterback Matt Mauck and Georgia kicker Billy Bennett were instrumental in their teams' respective wins over Arkansas and Georgia Tech last weekend.

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