Wilkerson wins Rimington Award

DALLAS -- Ben Wilkerson, LSU's senior center, was named co-recipient of the annual Dave Rimington Trophy as college football's top center, it was announced on Thursday.

Wilkerson, a native of Hemphill, Texas, shared the honor with Michigan's David Baas. Each was notified with a personal visit and a private presentation by Rimington Trophy representatives during the day.

"I am not about winning individual awards, but this means a great deal to me to receive this honor," Wilkerson said. "I am truly honored that people around the nation took notice of me even after my injury. This is not only an award for me, but for my teammates as well."

Both Wilkerson and Baas, who were selected from a group of finalists based on their honors in four All-America teams, will be officially honored as the annual Dave Rimington Trophy Awards banquet on Jan. 8 in Lincoln, Neb.

The American Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp, The Sporting News and the Football Writers Association of America are the four teams that are used in the selection process.

Wilkerson, who missed the final three games of LSU's season after suffering a knee injury against Vanderbilt, earned first-team All-America honors by the AFCA and The Sporting News, and was named second-team Walter Camp All-American.

"Having Ben Wilkerson and David Baas as co-winners of the 2004 Rimington Trophy is a tremendous honor," Dave Rimington, the namesake of the award, said. "It almost would not have been fair to have only one winner this year as so many teams played outstanding football. Both recipients add to the distinguished list of past winners and exude the leadership qualities, skill, power and intelligence it takes to named college football's top center."

Wilkerson allowed just two sacks in eight games this season. He also anchored an offensive line that helped the LSU running game average over 200 yards per game and score 19 touchdowns.

The five-year old trophy is presented by Canon USA, Black & Decker and Power Sentry. Since its inception the Rimington Trophy Award has raised over $300,000 for the award's benefactor, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The past winners of the award include Nebraska's Dominic Raiola, Ohio State's Lecharles Bentley, Miami's Brett Romberg and Virginia Tech's Jake Grove.

The award's namesake was a consensus first-team All-America center at Nebraska in 1981 and 1982.

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