New York, NY – May 2021
The Rimington Award honors the top center in FCS, DII, DIII and NAIA levels not just for the contributions on the field but off the field as well. This year’s selection process veered out of our normal evaluation techniques due to the lack of games played in all divisions. This year’s selection relied heavily on each center’s career prior to the 2020 shortened season.
AJ Farris of Monmouth University is the FCS winner of the Rimington Award. Farris, a senior from Newark, Del. was a second team Stats Perform FCS All-America Team. He earned First Team All-Big South honors after heading up an offensive line that led the way for the Big South’s most explosive offense. Monmouth averaged 35 points per game in 2021 which was 11th in the country and both the Hawks rushing and passing offense was ranked in the top-20 nationally. Farris was a third team All-American by two separate media outlets after the 2019 season and was a first team preseason All-American for 2020.
Mike Olsen of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh is the recipient of the Rimington Award for the NCAA DIII level. Olsen, a senior from Hartland, Wisc., did not participate in the 2020 season due to cancellations of his team’s schedule, but his career performance was enough to earn this season’s award. Olsen steered a UW-Oshkosh offensive line that led the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) with 14 sacks allowed and 4.7 yards per rushing attempt in 2019. Olsen and the Titan offensive line paved the way for UW-Oshkosh to rank second in the conference with 2,027 rushing yards. He was named D3football.com All-America Second Team, D3football.com All-West Region First Team and All-WIAC First Team in 2019. Olsen also excelled in the classroom and this year received the WIAC Max Sparger Football Scholar-Athlete Award and was a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation’s 2020 William V. Campbell Trophy, an award that recognizes the best football scholar-athlete in the nation.
Dustin Rivera of Southwestern College (Kan.) is the recipient of the Rimington Award for the NAIA Division. Rivera, a senior from Buckeye Ariz., was first team AFCA NAIA Team All-American this season, a second team AFCA NAIA All-American in 2019 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, 2019 and 2020. The Rimington Award for Rivera is the first time a center from the NAIA has been a repeat winner of the award since Jeff Hynes of Lindenwood University in 2008-2009.
Alfredo Fernandez of Angelo State Universoty is the winner of the Rimington Award for NCAA DII. Fernandez, a junior from San Antonio, Texas, has been a three-year starter for the Rams and participated in all four of ASU’s shortened season. ASU averaged 249.8 rushing yards per game this season while finishing with a 2-2 record.
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, award has raised over $4.5 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 http://www.rimingtontrophy.com
The Rimington Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which 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 the association.