Aynor’s Johnson makes top 50 watch list as USC center

South Carolina senior center T.J. Johnson is one of 50 players on the Rimington Trophy 2012 Spring Watch List, announced this week by the Rimington Trophy committee.

The list includes 21 returning players from the 2011 Watch List. The SEC leads the way with nine players, while the ACC, Big Ten, and PAC-12 check in with five candidates each. In addition, there are two graduate students and seven sophomores on the Watch List.

Johnson, a 6-6, 319-pounder from Aynor, S.C., has started all 40 games over the past three seasons for the Gamecocks. He was a third-team All-SEC selection in 2011 according to Phil Steele.

While more than a dozen All-America football teams are selected annually, the Rimington Trophy committee uses these four prestigious teams to determine a winner:

* American Football Coaches Association

* Walter Camp Foundation

* Sporting News

* Football Writers Association of America

Because the selectors of these four All-America teams can place centers in a “mix” of offensive linemen that includes guards and tackles, their 11-man first teams can often have two centers. The policy is to count all players that play primarily the center position for their respective teams as centers, even though they maybe listed as guards or tackles on the four All-American teams.

The center with the most first team votes will be determined the winner. If there is a tie with first team votes, then the center with most second team votes will win. If there is still a tie, the winner will be determined by the Rimington Trophy committee.

The winner will be honored at Rimington Trophy Presentation banquet at the Rococo Theater in Lincoln, Nebraska on January 12, 2013.

Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

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