At 260 pounds, Fresno Stateâ€™s Ryan Wendell might be the smallest starter on the offensive line, but the senior centerâ€™s experience and talent have garnered him national recognition on the preseason watch list for the Rimington Award.
â€œRyan is an outstanding football player,â€? head coach Pat Hill said in a press statement. â€œHeâ€™s the kind of player you love to have on your team. Heâ€™s a leader, heâ€™s an excellent student, he works hard in all areas. Heâ€™s a talented guy and certainly deserving of any awards he gets.â€?
The award, which is in its eighth year, is named after Dave Rimington, a consensus first team All-America center at Nebraska in 1981 and 1982.
â€œIâ€™m thrilled and honored to be associated with the Rimington Award,â€? Wendell said in a press statement. â€œDave Rimington is a legend and an idol for offensive linemen. There have been some outstanding players whoâ€™ve won this award over the years and Iâ€™m flattered to be considered a candidate.â€?
Wendell has started 35 consecutive games for the Bulldogsâ€™ offensive line and as a true freshman in 2004 was named the WAC Freshman of the Year and earned first-team All-America honors. Wendell was only the second offensive linemen in league history to be named WAC Freshman of the Year.
Wendell has opened holes for three straight 1,000-yard rushers and in 2005 was a force at left guard for an offense that was ranked in the Top 10 nationally for scoring.
Last season, Wendell started at left guard for Fresno Stateâ€™s first eight games, but then moved to center for the final four games of the season.