UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State senior Matt Stankiewitch (Orwigsburg) has been selected a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, presented to the nation’s top center.
A starter in all 25 games the past two seasons, Stankiewitch is one of six finalists from the initial list of 51 candidates. Joining Stankiewitch as Rimington Trophy finalists are Mario Benavides (Louisville), Braxston Cave (Notre Dame), Dalton Freeman (Clemson), Khaled Holmes (USC) and Barrett Jones (Alabama.)
Former Penn State first-team All-American A.Q. Shipley won the 2008 Rimington Trophy.
“It’s a great honor to be a finalist for the Rimington Trophy,” stated Stankiewitch, who earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches. “It’s a great testament to the guys who play next me, particularly John Urschel (first-team All-Big Ten right guard), since we have a lot of combination blocking. I thought our offensive line had a very good year under Coach (Mac) McWhorter.”
Stankiewitch made 27 career starts, second-highest among the 2012 squad members. He was instrumental in helping Coach Bill O’Brien’s Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten in total offense (437 ypg) in conference games and ranking second in scoring offense (32.6 ppg) and second in pass offense (283.1 ypg) against Big Ten foes. Stankiewitch helped the Nittany Lions gain more than 500 yards of total offense three times in conference play, topped by 546 yards against Indiana, its highest total against a Big Ten foe since gaining 557 yards against Michigan State in 2008.
The former Blue Mountain High School standout also played a large role in helping senior quarterback Matt McGloin break nine Penn State season and career passing records, Allen Robinson break the school season receptions mark and Zach Zwinak to rush for 1,000 yards this season, gaining 100 yards or more in six Big Ten games.
Stankiewitch is an Academic All-Big Ten honoree who is on schedule to graduate in December with degrees in management and advertising/public relations.
The 2012 Rimington Trophy recipient will be announced Thursday (Dec. 6) on ESPNU just prior to the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show.
The Rimington Trophy is named after former Nebraska center Dave Rimington and is presented by the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which is committed to finding a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. Since its 2000 inception, the Rimington Trophy has raised more than $3 million for the award’s benefactor, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, in Nebraska. The Boomer Esiason Foundation has raised more than $100 million for Cystic Fibrosis research.
The 2012 recipient will be honored at the Rimington Trophy Presentation banquet Jan. 12, at the Rococo Theatre in Lincoln, Neb.
Led by O’Brien, the 2012 Big Ten-Dave McClain Coach of the Year, Penn State won eight of its final 10 games to finish 8-4 overall and 6-2 in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions are first among teams receiving votes in the latest Associated Press Top 25 rankings.