NEW YORK -- Redshirt senior center Steven Hayes (Dacula, Ga.) of the Ohio football team has been named to the 2019 Rimington Trophy Watch List, as announced by the Rimington Trophy Committee today.
The Rimington Trophy, which is named after former Nebraska center Dave Rimington, is awarded to the player considered to be the best center in college football.
Hayes is one of 80 centers to be named to the watch list, including one of eight centers in the Mid-American Conference, joining redshirt senior Andrew Poenitsch of Ball State, senior Jack Kramer of Bowling Green, senior Steve Eipper of Central Michigan, senior Nate Warnock of Kent State, redshirt junior Danny Godlevske of Miami, senior Bryce Harris of Toledo and senior Luke Jurgia of Western Michigan.
Hayes, a sociology-criminology major, has played in 15 career games on the offensive line for the Bobcats over the past two seasons after transferring from Hutchinson Community College. Hayes played in a career-high nine games in 2018, making four starts at center. Ohio has boasted one of the most prolific offenses in the country over the past two seasons since Hayes' arrival. The 2017 team set a new record with 508 points, and the '18 squad promptly broke that record with 521 points scored. The 2018 team set program records in points per game with 40.1, surpassing the 2017 team's mark of 39.1, and ranks second in program history with 6,068 total yards gained. The Bobcats also set the program record with 466.8 yards per game a season ago. The Bobcats totaled the second-most rushing yards in program history in 2017 with 3,443, then ran for the third-most in '18 with 3,358. Ohio's rushing offense ranked ninth in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and first in the MAC with 258.5 rushing yards per game (sixth-most in program history) in 2018 after picking up 244.5 yards per game on the ground in '17. Hayes helped pave the way for a 1,000-yard rusher in A.J. Ouellette, who ran for a career-high 1,306 yards and scored a career-high 12 touchdowns in 2018. Running back Maleek Irons also posted a career-high 831 rushing yards while quarterback Nathan Rourke ran for 860 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Hayes gives Ohio three preseason watch list selections so far in 2019, joining Rourke, who was named to both the Maxwell Award and Davey O'Brien Award watch lists.
Ohio will kick off the 2019 regular season on Saturday, Aug. 31, with a home matchup against Rhode Island at Peden Stadium. The contest is slated to get underway at 2 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN+. For ticket information, call the ticket office at 1-800-575-2287 or click here.