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Seven MAC players named to preseason Rimington Trophy Watch List

Four from the West, three out of the East.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Rimington Trophy Watch List was released this morning with seven MAC football players making the 63-man list. The trophy, named after Dave Rimington, is awarded to the best center in Division-I football. Those centers are Andrew Ness (Northern Illinois), Nick Beamish (Central Michigan), Jacob Richard (Ball State), Matt Sparks (UMass), Jake Hurcombe (Eastern Michigan), Lucas Powell (Ohio) and Tim McAuliffe (Bowling Green).

Fun fact about Northern Illinois' Andrew Ness: he hasn't missed a game in three years. First Team All-MAC lineman last year is expected to have the same production to lead the way for a highly-talented Huskie offense. Central Michigan's Nick Beamish is also a much-recognized name on the list. Your name would be recognized too if you've started in all 38 games of your college career as a center at "O-Line U". Another First Team performer last year expected to help Cooper Rush keep producing in their senior seasons.

Jacob Richard is a two-time Third Team All-MAC honoree and was even listed on last year's Vince Lombardi Award Watch List. He walked on his freshman year and redshirted, appeared in the Beef O' Brady's Bowl when Keith Wenning was a junior. Richardson started every game the last two seasons.

Matt Sparks is what Americans would call a 'scholar-athlete'. He received honors from the MAC for his academic achievements while making 24 career starts at center (21 in the last two). Before a season cut short due to injury, Jake Hurcombe was only able to make 14 career starts (11 at center) heading into this redshirt-junior season.

Lucas Powell appeared in 23 games the last two seasons making 20 starts. Phil Steele has him projected to be a Third Team All-MAC player this season.

Tim McAuliffe is the youngest player on the list born in 1995. The redshirt-sophomore started every game for the Falcons under first year head coach Dino Babers. And well, you know, they scored a lot of points last year too.