For the second year in a row, UCLA offensive lineman Jake Brendel is on the Rimington Trophy watch list.
The Bruins’ fourth-year starter is one of 63 potential candidates up for the award, which has been given to the top center in college football since 2000. No center from the Pac-12 — or from any school west of the Rocky Mountains — has ever won it.
Brendel, who has started 39 out of 40 possible games, also had a spot on the preseason watch list heading into the 2014 season. The Dallas-area native is one of the most important members of UCLA’s offensive line, which appears to have some stability after being ranked near the bottom of the country in sacks allowed in each of the past three seasons.
In addition to Brendel, who had a strong spring camp, UCLA returns left tackle Conor McDermott, whose introduction to the starting lineup last season dramatically improved the unit’s performance. The rest of the first-string line is still somewhat fluid, but guards Alex Redmond, Scott Quessenberry and Kenny Lacy as well as tackles Simon Goines and Caleb Benenoch all have starting experience.