December, 2006 – DALLAS, TX – The 2006 winners of the Rimington Award have been announced honoring the top centers in the FCS, DII, DIII and NAIA levels.
The award has been handed out every year since 2003 as part of the honoring of the top center in the country with the Rimington Trophy. This year’s winners are highlighted by Jackie Skipper of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff who anchored an offensive line that ranked No. 1 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference in scoring offense.
# University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
# 6’1″, 295 lbs
# Computer Science major
Skipper started in 11 games for the Golden Lions and anchored an offensive line that ranked No. 1 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference in scoring offense, with 29.1 points per game. Skipper’s offensive line also posted a No. 2 conference ranking in pass offense (200.6 yards per game) and total offense (342.8 yards per game). A four-year starter, Skipper has played every position on the offensive line. He is a three-time All-SWAC selection and a first-time American Football Coaches Association Division I-AA All-American. Skipper, who bench presses 475 lbs, attended the same high school (Bastrop High) as former Arkansas-Pine Bluff player and current Jacksonville Jaguars receiver/tight end Brian Jones.
# University of South Dakota
# 6’5″, 291 lbs
# Business major
As the only returning offensive line starter from the 2005 season, Morton played and started in all 13 games for the Coyotes in 2006. The Junior center was selected to the Division II First Team and was a finalist for the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award. At 6’5″ and 291 lbs, his presence in the middle helped South Dakota become one of Division II’s most potent offenses, ranked fifth-best in the nation. As a redshirt freshman, Morton started five games, playing in ten, and received the Harry Gamage Most Valuable Freshman Award. He was rewarded the following year, starting ten games at center for the Coyotes.
# Hardin-Simmons University
# 5’10”, 250 lbs
# History major
Knox was named Offensive Lineman of the Year in the American Southwest Conference, and was a two-time All-ASC selection for the Cowboys during the 2006 season. He was voted a preseason All-American after earning second-team All-American accolades in 2005. Knox also earned recognition as an academic All-ASC student. He was recently selected to represent the United States in the Azteca Bowl against the Mexican National Team in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Knox was one of 48 Division III seniors participating in the game for Team USA.
# Evangel University
# 6’1″, 300 lbs
A four-year starter for the Crusaders, Hays was selected to the first ever American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) NAIA Coaches’ All-America team. He earned first team All-Heart of America Athletic Conference honors as a junior and senior and was an honorable mention pick following his first two seasons at Evangel. Hays was the second-highest rated lineman in the conference and the fourth-highest rated player in the league. In 2005, Hays was awarded three all-America honors and earned honorable mention NAIA and Football Gazette All-American.