Center Greg Eslinger named Rimington Finalist

Gophers center Greg Eslinger made the final cut of the top centers in the nation. The Rimington winner will be announced Jan. 8, 2005.

Junior center Greg Eslinger has been named one of six finalists for the Dave Rimington Trophy, which is presented annually to the outstanding center in college football. Joining Eslinger as finalists are David Baas of Michigan, Jason Brown of North Carolina, Vince Carter of Oklahoma, Marvin Philip Jr. of California and Russ Tanner of Georgia.

A two-time All-Big Ten selection, Eslinger helped the Gophers average 446.3 yards of total offense, which ranks third-best in the Big Ten, 13th in the nation and is the second-highest average in school history. He was also a key component in Minnesota averaging 255 rushing yards per game, which leads the Big Ten, ranks fifth nationally and represents the second-highest average in school history. Eslinger is the unquestioned leader of an offensive line that has allowed just nine sacks in 11 games, the second-best mark in the Big Ten and the fewest at Minnesota since 1970. Eslinger was part of a line that has accumulated 300 yards of total offense in a school-record 26 straight games, and he helped the Gophers become the only school in the nation to both run and pass for at least 2,000 yards the past six seasons

The winner will be honored at the awards banquet at the Rococo Theater in Lincoln, Neb., on Jan. 8, 2005. The featured speaker at the banquet will be two-time Heisman Trophy Winner Archie Griffin.

Dave Rimington, the award's namesake, was a consensus first-team All-America center at Nebraska in 1981 and 1982 - years in which he became the John Outland Trophy's only double winner as the nation's finest college interior lineman.

The five-year old trophy (Nebraska's Dominic Raiola, Ohio State's LeCharles Bentley, Miami's Brett Romberg, and Virginia Tech's Jake Grove are past recipients) is presented by Canon, USA, Black & Decker and Power Sentry. Since its inception, the Rimington Trophy has raised over $300,000 for the award's benefactor, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which is hosted by the Boomer Esiason Foundation that to date has raised over $25,000,000 for CF Research.

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