New York, NY – Zach Larsen of Southern Utah headlines the 2019 Rimington Award winners for the FCS, DII, DIII and NAIA divisions. This year’s selections mark the 17th time the top center of each respective level has received the award.
Larsen, a senior from Draper, Utah, has been one of the more decorated centers in recent FCS history. He is a three-time All-Big Sky Conference honoree, earning unanimous first team honors this season. In 2018 he was named an All-American by Phil Steele as well as by the Walter Camp Football Foundation. In 2017 he received All-American honors from STATS, Hero Sports and Phil Steele. Additionally, Larsen has been a fulltime starter at center for the Thunderbirds since his freshman year. Zach is the first Thunderbird to ever receive the Rimington Award and the fourth winner from the Big Sky Conference.
Jake Lacina of Augustana University (S.D.) is the DII division winner of the Rimington Award. Lacina, a senior from Saint Paul, Minn., was named first team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and first team All-Conference by the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). In his career, Lacina started all 45 games in his career with the Vikings while being elected a team captain this season. He was also a D2football.com preseason All-American before the start of the 2019 season. He is the first center from Augustana and the NSIC to ever receive the Rimington Award.
Zach Smith of Hope College (Mich.) is the winner of the NCAA DIII Rimington Award. Smith, a senior from Suttons Bay, Mich., was a first team AFCA All-American, two-time first team All Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) selection, and Preseason D3Football.com All-American. The three-year starting center was also elected captain of the Flying Dutchmen squad in both his junior and senior seasons. Hope averaged 439.7 yards per game and 46.0 points per game this season enroute to tying the school record for wins as Hope finished the year 9-2. The Rimington Award for Smith marks the first time a center from Hope College or the MIAA has won the award.
Dustin Rivera of Southwestern College (Kan.) is the recipient of the Rimington Award for the NAIA Division. Rivera, a junior from Buckeye Ariz., was second team AFCA NAIA Team All-American this season and a first team AFCA NAIA All-American in 2018. Rivera also earned first team honors in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) in 2018 and 2019. The Moundbuilders averaged 214.6 yards per game rushing and 234.3 yards passing this season. The Rimington Award for Rivera is the first time a member of the KCAC or Southwestern College has won the award.
The award winners are selected by Jason Dannelly, coordinator of the Rimington Award and longtime writer of college football in non-FBS divisions as part of the continued tradition of one of College Football’s most prestigious awards. Dannelly was the founder of the Victory Sports Network and has been a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) for over 20 years.
About the Rimington Trophy
The Rimington Trophy is presented annually to the most outstanding center in NCAA Division I College Football. Since its inception, the twenty-year old award has raised over $4.45 million for the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which is committed to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis.
Dave Rimington, the award’s namesake, was a consensus first-team All-America center at the University of Nebraska in 1981 and 1982, during which time he became the John Outland Trophy’s only two-time winner as the nation’s finest college interior lineman. For more on the Rimington Trophy and a list of past recipients, visit rimingtontrophy.com
The Rimington Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association. The NCFAA encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.
About the Boomer Esiason Foundation
In 1993, Gunnar Esiason – son of former NFL MVP quarterback Boomer Esiason – was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs, digestive system, and reproductive system of about 30,000 Americans by causing a thick build-up of mucus that leads to blockage, inflammation, and infection.
Boomer and his wife Cheryl founded the Boomer Esiason Foundation to raise funds and awareness for the cystic fibrosis community. The Foundation has raised over $145 million to date. To learn more, visit esiason.org.