LEXINGTON, Ky. – It was no surprise Wednesday morning, July 6 when the Rimington Trophy Committee announced its 2016 Fall Watch List for college football’s best center, that University of Kentucky senior Jon Toth was one of 61 centers named to the list for the prestigious award.
Also, in a separate announcement made on Wednesday, UK sophomore tight end C.J. Conrad has been named one of 45 players to the 2016 John Mackey Award Preseason Watch List, which annually honors the most outstanding collegiate tight end.
For Toth (pictured, right), this is the third straight watch list honor from the Rimington Trophy Committee as he was on the 2015 Fall Watch List and 2016 Spring Watch list for the award. Toth is one of eight Southeastern Conference players on the list, joining Frank Ragnow (Arkansas), Brandon Kublanow (Georgia), Ethan Pocic (LSU), Jamaal Clayborn (Mississippi State), Robert Conyers (Ole Miss), Alan Knott (South Carolina) and Coleman Thomas (Tennessee).
As the season progresses, the Rimington committee will continue to watch all players on the list and will announce its finalists on Dec. 5. The trophy committee will use the Walter Camp Foundation All-America team, Sporting News All-America team and Football Writers Association of America All-America team to determine a winner.
Toth, a native of Indianapolis, is one of four returning starters on the offensive line and is considered one of the top centers in college football for the second straight season. The 6-foot-5, 310-pound senior, will enter his final campaign having played in 36 games with 35 consecutive starts. Last season, he helped UK’s four-man running back rotation collect 1,855 yards, including Stanley “Boom” Williams who averaged a school-record 7.1 yards per carry.
In 2014, he started in all 12 games and was named the Southeastern Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week in the season-opening win over UT Martin as he helped the Cats roll up 59 points and 656 yards; the 656 yards is the fourth-highest single-game mark in school history.
As a freshman, Toth was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team by league coaches after helping three different UK players rush for 400-plus yards.
Off the field, Toth is a three-time SEC academic honor roll member and is on track to graduate in December with a degree in mechanical engineering.
The Rimington Trophy is presented annually to the Most Outstanding Center in NCAA Division I-A College Football. Since its inception, the Rimington Trophy has raised over $2.6 million for the cystic fibrosis community. The award is overseen by the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which is committed to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis and has risen over $120 million for the fight against 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 double winner as the nation's finest college interior lineman. For more on the Rimington Trophy and a list of past recipients, visit rimingtontrophy.com.
As for Conrad (pictured left), who is one of five sophomores to make the John Mackey preseason watch list, he had a great first season for Kentucky, playing in all 12 games last fall with nine starts. The native of LaGrange, Ohio, led all Southeastern Conference tight ends with 15 catches for 149 yards and one touchdown. His best game came at Mississippi State when he caught six passes for 56 yards, while he had two games with three or more catches.
For his efforts, Conrad was named Freshman All-America Third Team by Athlon Sports and SEC All-Freshman Team by league coaches. Conrad is no stranger to praise from the John Mackey Award Committee as last season he was placed on the John Mackey Award Midseason Watch List and earned honorable mention Mackey Award Tight End of the Week after his strong performance against Missouri.
The award recipient is selected by vote of the John Mackey Award Selection Committee and will be announced Dec. 7 and then presented live on Dec. 8 at The Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show on ESPNU.
National Football League Hall of Fame member John Mackey is considered to be the best to have played the tight end position. A tight end by whom all others are measured, Mackey was a role model on and off the field as demonstrated by his Super Bowl Championship, his commitment to community and his place in history as the first President of the NFLPA.
The John Mackey Award presented since 2000, recognizes 14 alumni that have played in the NFL: two-time Super Bowl Champion Daniel Graham (‘01), 2006 Super Bowl Champion Dallas Clark (‘02), Kellen Winslow II (‘03), two-time Super Bowl Champion Heath Miller (‘04), Marcedes Lewis (‘05) of the Jacksonville Jaguars, 2008 Super Bowl Champion Matt Spaeth (‘06) of the of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Fred Davis (‘07), Chase Coffman (‘08), D.J. Williams (‘10), Dwayne Allen (’11) of the Indianapolis Colts, Tyler Eifert (’12) of the Cincinnati Bengals, Austin Seferian-Jenkins (’13) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Nick O’Leary (’14) of the Buffalo Bills and 2015 John Mackey Award recipient Hunter Henry of the San Diego Chargers.
Kentucky will begin the 2016 season Saturday, Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET against Southern Miss at Commonwealth Stadium. The game will be televised live on ESPNU.
UK Athletics Photos