Friday, March 23, 2001
Raiola winsWhen an award named for a former Nebraska great goes to another Cornhusker on the first try, one might assume that the fix was in.
as top center
The former St. Louis star
is expected to be a high
NFL draft pick
But St. Louis School graduate Dominic Raiola won the inaugural Dave Rimington Trophy as "College Football's Center of the Year" last week for garnering more first-team All-America selections than any other candidate. The trophy would go to the center who earned the most first-team appearances among the six All-America teams accredited by the College Football Hall of Fame. Raiola was named first-team on five.
"He's the best center in the country, no doubt," said Nebraska offensive line coach Milt Tenopir last season. "He's the best we've had in terms of quickness, savvy, intensity and energy."
That's high praise, considering that Rimington had long been considered the best center in Nebraska history and one of the best college linemen ever. Rimington was a 1981 and '82 All-America and won two Outland Trophies.
Raiola set the Nebraska "pancake" blocks record as a sophomore and bettered the mark last season, averaging 13 per game (though teammate Toniu Fonoti of Hauula bested that mark). In January, Raiola announced that he would forgo his senior season to turn professional. He is expected to be a high pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Raiola was also a finalist for the Outland and Lombardi awards.