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Ohio State’s Pat Elflein named the best center in college football

Adam Cairns / The Columbus Dispatch

For the first time since 2008, an Ohio State Buckeyes football player has won a national award. During Thursday night’s College Football Awards Show, Ohio State center Pat Elflein was selected as the Rimington Trophy winner, given to the best center in college football.

Named an All-American by virtually all lists that were published, the fifth-year senior has started 41 games during his career as a Buckeye. One of two returning starters on the offensive line, he made the transition from guard to center prior to the season, knowing that the rest of the offensive line was going to be young. In his first season at the position, he was named the best player in the country.

Incredible, right? It truly shows how good of a player Elflein is, and he will be awarded in the upcoming NFL Draft, along with whatever the Buckeyes do in the College Football Playoff to conclude this season.

As the anchor of the offensive line, he and the other “slobs” paved the way for Mike Weber and company, who averaged 258.3 rushing yards per game. While opening up holes for the running game, including both Weber and quarterback J.T. Barrett, he also helped Ohio State average 42.7 points per game. Just how good was the Buckeyes ground attack, partially due to the offensive line? Their 3,100 yards on the ground were the most in the Big Ten (by a wide margin) and 10th in the country.

Elflein unfortunately fell short of winning the Outland Trophy, which is given to the best interior lineman in the country. Alabama’s Cam Robinson was the winner of that award. He could possibly have a shot to prove that he is the better interior lineman if the two teams win their respective semifinal games and meet in the national championship.1

Prior to Elflein, the last Buckeye to win a national award was cornerback Malcolm Jenkins (Jim Thorp Award for the country’s top cornerback) in 2008. He is the second Ohio State center to win the award, joining LeCharles Bentley (2001).

  1. For what it’s worth, Robinson comes in 15th on Todd McShay’s Big Board, while Eflein falls in somewhere outside of the top 32. []